When promos of the latest deluxe Pavement reissue – “Brighten The Corners: Nicene Creedence Ed”, no less – turned up last week, it struck me that perhaps, in 12 months’ time, we might just be talking about a Pavement comeback being one of the key reunions of 2009.

When promos of the latest deluxe Pavement reissue – “Brighten The Corners: Nicene Creedence Ed”, no less – turned up last week, it struck me that perhaps, in 12 months’ time, we might just be talking about a Pavement comeback being one of the key reunions of 2009.

For in spite of vague (presumably) unresolved animosities, ongoing careers (Malkmus’ “Real Emotional Trash” remains one of my 2008 favourites; doesn’t Bob Nastanovich do something involving racehorses full-time now in Louisville?) and so on, there feels like something inevitable about them getting back together sooner or later. Not least, I suppose, because various ex-members of the band have alluded to it happening, perhaps with the sort of droll, apparently powerless phlegmatism that was always one of Pavement’s key assets.

They’re still one of my favourite bands, though one I only interviewed once: a farcical night in Leeds that involved me clumsily annoying a raft of fanzine writers, Sonic Youth and, eventually, quite a few of Pavement – apart from Gary Young who, on his last tour with the band I think, was doing a good job of annoying his bandmates himself. If I remember right, that day he’d put a dead rabbit in Malkmus’ luggage, and spent most of the evening handing tiddlywinks out to audience members in the foyer of the venue.

I digress. Anyway, listening to “Brighten The Corners”, I’m reminded just how much I love Pavement, not least because this one has always been perhaps my least-favourite of their albums, and it still sounds terrific. In contrast with some of the chaotic things that came before it, and the intensively divisive Malkmus/Godrich business surrounding “Terror Twilight” that followed, “Brighten The Corners” sounds like the calmest album in Pavement’s canon. It’s here, maybe, that they started tentatively grappling with the idea of a sort of maturity, where the concepts of lo-fi or whatever that loitered around them became less pressing.

Great songs, then – “We Are Underused”! “Stereo”!, “Starlings Of The Slipstream”!. The first stirrings of Malkmus’ nascent guitar hero instincts – check out the grand coda to “Type Slowly”, which might be my favourite thing here. Endless quotable lines, beginning of course with all that stuff about Geddy Lee in “Stereo”. And a more integrated Scott Kannberg, who still managed to have maybe one of his very best songs – “Winner Of The” – left off the actual album.

“Winner Of The” is, of course, included here as one of 30-odd extra tracks; nothing less than we’ve come to expect from these hefty reissues of the Pavement catalogue that roll out once every couple of years. Picking a way through it all, there’s an argument that this might actually be one of the richest Pavement periods, given the quality of all these b-sides and offcuts.

On Disc One, for instance, there’s a great, tentative, generally instrumental version of “The Hexx” that flourishes without the Godrich wooshing it received on “Terror Twilight”. There are more great offcuts (“Harness Your Hopes” and “Roll With The Wind”) that originally limped out a few years too late as b-sides to “Spit On A Stranger”. And there’s one of my favourite Pavement songs of all, “Westie Can Drum”, a seemingly jokey prelude to the sniping which would eat away at the band during the “Terror Twilight” sessions.

Disc Two begins with a racey version of “Type Slowly”, “Slowly Typed”, and wanders through a bunch of revealing and fun cover versions (of which “The Killing Moon” is the most familiar, but there’s also The Fall’s “The Classical”, and a punt at Faust’s “It’s A Rainy Day, Sunshine Girl” which I’ve never come across before).

There’s also an unreleased song called “Neil Hegarty Meets Jon Spencer In A Non-Alcoholic Bar”, the title of which has bewitched me so completely that, every time I’ved played the album thus far, I’ve failed to notice what it’s actually like. A lot to take in here; I’ll play it all again, and get back to you. . .