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  • Terminal Band -12.04
  • Almost Contagious -12.04
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    [ Sebadoh ]

    Harmacy (subpop)

    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 greatest album.

    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 ever written.

    "Ocean", the first single, is immediately impressive. "Nothing Like You" is gloomy yet enlightening..... one of the best discordant riffs I have ever heard.

    "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