For Lou Barlow, Sebadoh was often seen as an escape from Dinosaur Jr. guitarist J Mascis, but the release of the first new music from Barlow’s “other band” since 1999’s The Sebadoh links back to the fact that the two projects once lived simultaneously. And with the new Dinosaur Jr. material sounding so fresh, it would seem to be the perfect time for the return of Sebadoh.
While Sebadoh have toured a few times in their 13 years of non-production, Secret fills a serious gap felt by fans who were barely sated by the re-release of Bakesale. (No worries, Barlow promises a full-length in the near future, as well.) Opener “Keep the Boy Alive” re-establishes the Sebadoh formula: Super-fuzzed guitars jump out over Barlow’s firm yet lingering delivery, and everything pushes a powerful pop melody. “Make the same mistakes over again/ I can’t break the chain, go around again,” Barlow lets loose over Bob D’Amico’s sharp drum cracks, everything flooding back into focus.
But like the mozzarella sticks consumed before a late-night slice, Secret succeeds in pushing one’s cravings. The five tracks on Secret don’t sound like a band that hasn’t put out any new music in over a decade. The twangy, laid-back ride of “I Don’t Mind” and the angular riffage of “All Kinds” won’t likely go down in fans’ lists of “All-Time Sebadoh Tracks”, but the musicianship is crisp, the hooks digging back in, and the slacker-y goodness of the lyrics wrap around like a warm blanket. There are some solid tunes on Secret, but it’s more effective as an appetizer to something more fulfilling.
Essential Tracks: “Keep the Boy Alive”