Monday, April 4, 2011

Review: J Mascis - Several Shades of Why (Sub Pop)

J Mascis Several Shades of Why [Sub Pop; 2011]

Though Several Shades of Why is being billed as J Mascis’s “first solo acoustic” album, Dinosaur Jr. devotees know that every album from 1991’s Green Mind and on were practically J Mascis solo albums anyway. Dinosaur’s drummer Murph was reportedly so furious with Mascis’s micro-managing of his drum parts, Mascis ended up playing most of those parts himself. But let’s forget about all that animosity, as it is apparently behind them (Dinosaur Jr. are still around, and are as amazing as ever). Several Shades of Why is a beautiful album, featuring Mascis at his most personal, his voice rarely getting above his distinct moan that you can’t help but wonder why he hasn’t done something like this sooner. And although this is an acoustic album, that doesn’t mean it doesn’t rock. Songs like “Very Nervous and Love” and “Where Are You” showcase the legendary guitarist’s soloing skills as good as any Dinosaur classic, not to mention his songwriting talent has clearly not even peaked. The chord progression of a song like “Is It Done” would come off clich├ęd if it weren’t for Mascis’s heartbreaking lyrics that compliment it. If Mascis’s awkward off-stage personality and antics made you question his sincerity as a person, just give Several Shades of Why a listen to remind you that oddballs are just as human as anyone.

Official video for single "Not Enough" below...

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