February 16, 2005

Lou Barlow "EMOH"

Ah, Lou Barlow! How long it's been since you've released something new. That New Folk Implosion wasn't as bad as people said it was, and it's a shame only three people appreciated it. And that Sebadoh tour you did last fall wasn't bad, either! You sounded fresh and revitalized, playing all of the hits, and you looked like you were havin' a good ol' time up there on the stage. Of course, you've got a lot to be smiling about, don't you? Your old band Dinosaur Jr is about to get the respect it deserves, you've got a new record that's excellent and you've got a new Barlow on the way.

Let's talk about Emoh, shall we? It's a wonderful record, my friend. Plain and simple, but I really can't say I'm surprised. You've always had this knack of making simple music sound so complex and lovely, and that's not an easy feat. Sure, the Sentridoh stuff might have been a little too lo-fi for my own tastes, but I always liked the Folk Implosion, and Sebadoh's music was always righteous and occasionally goofy, but it was always heartfelt. I mean, there's a reason why I listen to Harmacy a lot--it's simply wonderful, because it rocks and it weeps and the songs on there are some of my all-time favorites.

I know it must be annoying to hear all of your past glories mentioned all the time, but with Emoh, it's necessary to do so, because it's a cumulation of every good thing you've done over the last twenty years. In the back of my mind, I've always hoped you'd finally put together a record that's all acoustic--or, at the very least, acoustic-tinged. One of my favorite Sebadoh records is the CD EP for Rebound, and it's not just because of the great title track, either--I love the all acoustic renditions of your other songs. You've got that Nick Drake quality that I like, and I can't stand Nick Drake, either.

I'll admit; it's taken me some time to listen to Emoh. I've had the hardest time making it past the second song, "Home," because after hearing that song, I really don't want to hear the rest of the record. That song--man, it's easily the best thing you've ever written. If you were trying to make me silently weep like an undergrad, then mission accomplished, my friend. It's good to know you've still got your heart on your sleeve and that you're still making instant mix tape classics.

Thankfully, there's more than just one great song on Emoh. "Puzzle" is a great little downbeat number; "Confused" shows that you still are, "The Ballad of Daykitty" is a touching tribute that fit perfectly with an incident in my own life. The only time you falter, the only time I cringe and the only song I skip is that awful cover of Ratt's "Round And Round." I just don't dig that. I'd expect that from one of your many Lou-alikes, but not you! I thought irony ended when the Sub Pop contract expired.

Still, you've done good, sir. I'm proud of this. I knew you had it in you. Your life's about to get bigger and better and more interesting and it's reflective of your art. Neither rebel nor the natural one, it's good to see you've just decided to be you, Lou.

--Joseph Kyle

Artist Website: http://www.loobiecore.com
Label Website: http://www.mergerecords.com

No comments: