This record (however hyped) is still
unlikely to bring Sebadoh out of their deserved
"next big thing" status, nor to be Subpop's next
huge money spinner. Unlucky (or is it) for them, their unique blend
of lo-fi ballads and upbeat rockers will never be appreciated beyond
the college radio chart, or the indie children who choose to forsake
their popularity for their art.
There. I said it. I made up a whole lot of shit relating to
where Sebadoh have been, and where they are never likely to go....
Oh, and one last thing before I start reviewing this record. The
obligatory "Lou Barlow formerly of The J. Mascis band" plug.
Ok. Down to what matters.... the music. Harmacy is a
baffling record which is totally incoherent and patchy. Oh, yeah,
And brilliant. After one play, you hate it. After ten plays you
still hate it. Once you've scratched the surface, you begin to
realize there may be something more to this record. As a whole,
the album is Sebadoh's finest yet. Even without Eric's presence,
Lou, Jason and Bob manage to pull off what will probably be 1996's
You start out with "On Fire" a typically Lou-ish
ballad, the great lyrics, and great guitar playing to match. You
are happy. Then, you listen to track 2, "Prince-S",
which, for the first dozen or so listens will fall on deaf ears,
and then reveal itself to be amongst the greatest pieces of pop
"Ocean", the first single, is immediately
impressive. "Nothing Like You" is gloomy yet
enlightening..... one of the best discordant riffs I have ever
"Crystal Gypsy" is another Jason track which
impresses, even only if after perseverance. That's when Lou brings
out the big one "Beauty of the Ride" Wow!!! Then
another Jason rocker and an instrumental written by Bob......
"Willing to Wait" a hopeful ballad.
"Hillbilly Z" and "Zone Doubt" are each good
tunes, but serve merely to warm us up for another Lou moment.
"Too Pure" about drugs.... you can almost feel
his pain. From here, it's just great song after great song "Worst
Thing", "Love to Fight", "Perfect Way", "Can't Give Up", "Open
Ended", a great instrumental called "Weed against
Speed" which was penned by Lou. The last, and unfortunately
least song is a cover of "The Bags" called "Smell
a Rat" on which Bob sings. Never listen to it and you
will never be disappointed.
On the whole, another great effort from a great band. Don't
categorize them just listen to them..... of course, this review
is only an "open-ended threat subject to interpretation" so I'll
leave you to draw your own conclusions.
Written By: Eric C