MFSL release from the pioneers of emo
Before I owned this record, I had always wanted to try out one of these Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab (MFSL) reissues before parting with my hard-earned. I haven't got a copy of the MFSL Nevermind that was released in 1996; I've always found the prices artificially inflated. I mean, £200 for a sealed copy? Is it any better than the recent ORG releases? Anyway I digress.
I saw an MFSL copy of Sea Change by Beck that was released as a double pink vinyl as a 1000 limited edition that I fancied trying but I know nothing about Beck and haven't got another copy of the album to compare it with. Pointless. I had a look through the MOFI back catalogue and saw this Weezer release. Weezer's debut album is one of the finest records of the 90's. As everyone knows, they burst onto the scene with the Happy Days inspired video for Buddy Holly (which was also featured on the Windows 95 CD for all you PC geeks). Their first single, 'Undone, The Sweater Song' did well in the US but only just crept into the top 40 over here. The third single, 'Say It Ain't So' fared likewise. Those who brought the album though, were richly rewarded. The songs are mainly focused on stuff that had happened to lead singer Rivers at some point or other – his brother being in a car accident (My Name is Jonas), his parents divorce (Say It Ain't So) and the barber-shop quarter style and geek looks won loads of fans. Just on a side note, Rolling Stone labelled the follow up, Pinkerton, as 'one of the worst albums of 1996'. Bunch of dicks.
But as this site is about the record and not the songs, I'll move swiftly on.
I found this at a good price so decided it'd be a decent first MFSL purchase. The first thing you noticed is the sheer weight of the record. The gatefold sleeve is on super-thick card with the familiar 'Original Master Recording' ticker tape band across the top. The reverse of the sleeve tells us that the record was mastered on 'the Gain 2 Ultra Analog System' and has the number (1249) as well as a Universal Special Markets logo and mastering details.
Production and mastering by Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab
Specially plated and pressed on 180 grams of High Definition vinyl
Special static free – dust free inner sleeve
Heavy duty protective packaging
Mastered from the original master tapes
Distributed by Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab Inc. 318 North Laflin St, Chicago, IL 60607, under licence from Universal Music Enterprises
Inside, there's a wrap-around sleeve with details of other MFSL releases (including 24k gold CDs and SACDs), ranging from Beck to The Grateful Dead, from The Cars to Marvin Gaye on the outside, and information about the MFSL pressing process and general record care products on the inside. The thickness of this card is thicker than some of the records I own (notable Physical Graffiti and its paper thin vinyl).
The 'dust free – anti-static' inner sleeve is impressive although a very tight fit. It's probably worth more than that Midget 10" I recently reviewed! The record is very impressive, with a more weighty feel than the stated 180g. (I'm sure some records that are meant to be 180g aren't). Plain black and silver labels are crammed with MFSL-related logos – one for 'Original Master Recording', one for 'Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab', one for 'MOFI', one for 'GAIN 2 Ultra Analog.' Above all else though, this record sounds absolutely stunning. There's no surface noise at all, no crackles even during the gaps. The bass notes are crystal clear, clearer than I've heard on any other 180g record and the drums are punchy, especially in 'The World Has Turned And Left Me Here'. Brian Bell's backing vocals seem to be a little higher in the mix, again though, this could be attributed to the overall increase in clarity across the whole album. With that said, it feels very 'homemade' and natural sounding, nothing is forced or over-produced
One strange thing though. Halfway through 'Only In Dreams', there seems to be a drastic drop in volume. It's almost like someone has flicked a switch. The volume halves. It's been reported elsewhere (struggling to find a link though but I've definitely seen in on the Steve Hoffman forums) by other eagle-eared listeners.
This is a fantastic release and I urge any audiophile fan interested in dipping their tow into the world of MFSL to try this out.
- My Name Is Jonas
- No One Else
- The World Has Turned and Left Me Here
- Buddy Holly
- Undone – The Sweater Song
- Surf Wax America
- Say It Ain't So
- In the Garage
- Only in Dreams
Side 1 – MFSL1-390 A3 20551.1(3)
Side 2 – MFSL1-390 B2 20520.2(3)