Friday, March 1, 2024

J Mascis: What Do We Do Now Album Assessment

Today, probably the most stunning factor about J Mascis’ solo albums is how common they’ve turn out to be. When Mascis launched A number of Shades of Why in 2011, a quarter-century into his profession, it was an anomaly—his first solo document of authentic materials and an acoustic showcase for a few of his most weak songwriting. Ever since, he’s made it an everyday behavior, chasing every new Dinosaur Jr. album with a mellower, extra leisurely solo document a few years later, as if a part of some artistic detox ritual.

For the reason that authentic Dino Jr. lineup launched its improbably lengthy, drama-free reunion, they’ve dedicated to, if not a more healthy weight loss program of communication and compromise, not less than a shared understanding of their strengths, with Mascis writing to the terse sensibilities of his bandmates Lou Barlow and Murph. That’s led to some glorious data—5 of them in a row, an unbelievable streak—nevertheless it’s additionally restricted many of the shaggy exploration that Mascis dropped at the band when he ran it as a de facto solo challenge within the ’90s and freely granted himself the proper to bask in gaudy funk or throw in a trumpet.

Like 2018 predecessor Elastic Days, Mascis’ fourth solo album, What Do We Do Now, performs like a conventional band album, albeit in a decibel vary significantly decrease than Dinosaur Jr.’s skyscraper amp towers. Acoustic rhythm guitars floor the document with a brilliant shimmer, and Mascis accompanies them with a full drum equipment, keyboards from Ken Maiuri (a fellow Massachusetts native and present member of the B-52’s), and, most unmistakably, the searing electrical guitar solos that he pointedly left off of his first couple of solo data.

These wailing, emotive guitars stay one of the expressive devices in indie rock, however their impression is dulled once they’re unrooted from Dinosaur Jr.’s default quantity and propulsion. The primary time they torpedo by opener “Can’t Consider We’re Right here,” jolting the monitor to life, the impact is plain. Once they repeat the maneuver on each tune, virtually at all times on the halfway level, the joys wears off. Mascis’ greatest solos exude spontaneity. These really feel extra like muscle reminiscence.

To the extent What Do We Do Now is much less satisfying than Mascis’ earlier solo releases, it’s as a result of it has much less to disclose. Mascis has written so many songs about the identical wants and frustrations—his failures to speak, to be understood, and finally accepted—that they will’t assist however bleed collectively. Nonetheless, the album’s mild contact and content material disposition make it an easy hear, particularly when Mascis leans into tenderness. On the title monitor, he sings about longing to kiss and squeeze you, a line that may scan as barbed amid the stress and murk of a Dinosaur Jr. tune. Right here it’s simply one other nice thought on an album whose instincts are at all times for acquainted comforts.

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J Mascis: What Do We Do Now

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