Sebadoh – Defend Yourself
Lou Barlow's place in rock lore is already sealed via Dinosaur Jr basslines and fronting cult heroes Sebadoh, so the 47-year-old can just put his feet up, right? Well no, it turns out the quiet life isn't for Barlow – after a fourteen year absence from the studio, Sebadoh are back with Defend Yourself.
Much in the same way that the mid-noughties return of Dinosaur Jr return cemented rather than soiled the band's reputation, this record is a good reminder of why the furious, distorted guitars of Sebadoh are still revered. Barlow’s rough twang holds it all together rather well, with Can't Depend's more laconic sound allowing him to leisurely articulate the angst that only a forty-something 'slacker' can truly feel.
Inquiries is a slight misfire; its yee-haw novelty rockabilly shtick jars badly with the rest of the record, which concentrates on drawing out the band’s fractured melodic aggression. Still, the young pretenders of US alt rock really should be taking notes. [Stu Lewis]