First, a confession: I had never heard of Jay Clarkson prior to receiving this request. After doing a bit of research, this unfamiliarity is unusual to me because--like everyone else in New Zealand music--Miss Clarkson has been involved in a very large number of projects, ranging from her work in the Playthings and the Expendables to multiple credits on Tall Dwarfs albums! This 1992 compilation features all but one of the songs on Jay Clarkson's self-titled EP from 1986, in addition to a couple tracks culled from her aforementioned bands. The songs collected on 'Packet' are uniformly strong, but the highlight is undoubtedly the haunting "The Boy With the Sad Hands," which has found its way on more than a few Flying Nun compilations in the past. Clarkson has continued to release albums, including 1999's acclaimed 'Kindle,' which will probably make an appearance on this blog at some point. So until then, help yourself to this fine collection of subtle, unassuming beauty. - Ariel
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