LA PESTE: “Better Off Dead” b/w “Black”: 7”

From what I’ve been able to gather, La Peste are an overlooked trio from Boston that never released a proper LP, but are nonetheless remembered for the handful of jams they recorded during their brief existence. First off, Wharf Cat’s reissue is spot-on, with a reprinted show flier insert and an additional photograph of the group. On the insert, Mission Of Burma’s Roger Miller provides a quote, which is fitting, as I can assume from these two brief tracks, that La Peste’s musical trajectory might have further coincided with these fellow Bostonian luminaries. “Better Off Dead” is definitely the hit. It opens with guitar and some chiming on the cymbals. For being over thirty years old, the song is urgent and still slyly tongue-in-cheek. The jangly guitar tone conjures bands across the pond like Gang Of Four, Wire, and Zounds. “Black” is more avant-garde and, frankly, less effective. It doesn’t hold up nearly as well as the pogo-inducing jam on the opposite side. This 7” wasn’t reissued to cash in on nostalgia, rather because La Peste were truly ahead of the curve and well-worth revisiting or appreciating for the first time. 

 –Sean Arenas (Wharf Cat)