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New Zealand's Jean-Paul Sartre Experience Gets Box Set Treatment

The Jean Paul Sartre Experience.
Courtesy of the artist
The Jean Paul Sartre Experience.

One of the great underground bands from New Zealand's pop heyday is getting its due. The Jean-Paul Sartre Experience, which broke up in 1994 after a nearly 10-year career on Flying Nun Records, will have its entire discography remastered and re-released this year by Fire Archives.

The Jean-Paul Sartre Experience were part of the second wave of what became known as kiwipop, forming after bands like The Clean, The Chills and The Verlaines. The Christchurch core of Dave Yetton (vocals, bass), Dave Mulcahy (guitar), Gary Sullivan (drums) and Jim Laing (guitar) recorded three full-lengths and several EPs that, despite ranking among Flying Nun's finest moments, are still difficult to find in the U.S.

For that reason, the Jean-Paul Sartre Experience (named after a roommate's psychedelic ruminations on the French existentialist's writings) became a bit of a "holy grail" band that I'd search for every time I entered a record store. Even now, you have to use unofficial YouTube uploads to hear most of the band's discography online (or you can pay through the nose on Amazon).

The upcoming boxset, titled I Like Rain: The Story of The Jean-Paul Sartre Experience, will change all that. After more than six years in the making, the compendium is due out June 30. In the meantime, Fire Archives is whetting our appetites with the band's first single, "I Like Rain," from 1987. It's a glimpse of the Jean-Paul Sartre Experience's charming, autodidactic beginnings before becoming one of the more accomplished bands on the North Island. The re-pressed single's b-side is "Fish In The Sea," the band's first song on its debut 12" from 1986.

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