Bakesale by Sebadoh

Lou Barlow was never a very happy man. Early Sebadoh records have been defined in the indie rock canon by his very public hatred of former bandmate J Mascis (amusing, seeing as J ran the boards for the Breeders' cover of Sebadoh's grandest fuck you, "The Freed Pig"), while just about everything else the band has done sounds like one lo-fi "it's not you, it's me" speech after another. Surprise, then, that 1994's Bakesale almost sounds okay with you getting close to it; I've heard plenty of messy breakup albums, but messy currently-in-a- relationship albums less so. A welcome change, if not as interesting.

Having finally boiled down the odd twists and turns of III into an incredibly catchy and consistent mix of chime-stroke-grind guitars, angular bass parts, sighs on Barlow's tracks and whines on Loewenstein's tracks, only five tracks on Bakesale reach the three minute mark. Some would give the album to Barlow (given the nervy "Magnet's Coil", the hazy "Dreams", the poppy "Rebound", or the Weezer-y "Together or Alone", they'd be justified), but I find Loewenstein the more interesting of the songwriters here, bringing to mind some of Sunny Day Real Estate's better moments on emo-tinged cuts like "Got It" or "Not Too Amused". In fact, it's on his "Careful" that he about sums up the entire record, only two tracks in: "I just want to do right by you/Sitting safe beside the truth/Beside you".


Essential: "Careful", "Rebound", "Got It"
Quintessential: "Skull"
Non-essential: "Temptation Tide"

Rating: Great
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