Sebadoh - Sebadoh Defend Yourself

Worth the 14-year wait

What with solo and side
projects aplenty, the members
of Dinosaur Jr have never
been short of things to occupy
their time, either during the
alt.rock lynchpins’ neardecade-
long hiatus, or, since
reuniting in 2005, the relatively
lengthy gaps between albums.
Formed in 1989 by Dino Jr
bassist Lou Barlow, Sebadoh
themselves haven’t released
an album since 1999, so this
eighth full-length comes with
high expectations.

At first, they’re satisfied.
The uplifting, surprisingly
polished pop squall of Can
You Tell is followed by the
mellower, more sombre tones
of Love You Here, starting the
record with the sort of
panache that musical
behemoths of this ilk should
possess. That’s something
shared by the dark,
penetrating angulations of the
title track, the off-kilter jangle
of Final Days and the morose,
lugubrious cadences of both
Let It Out and Listen, two
album highlights.

Indeed, the latter would
make for a much better
closer than the jarring,
rambunctious Separate –
one of a few songs (along
with the slightly annoying
sludge march of Beat, the
frenetic whimsy of Inquiries
and the juddering instrumental
Once) that falls just short of
those huge expectations. But
when this record hits the
mark, it’s very good indeed.

3 stars 3 stars 3 stars

Domino | WIGCD 319

Reviewed by Mischa Pearlman
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