Adrian Cooper has been unwell

Old reviews that are no longer available online, or from sites that no longer exist. The pen is dead, long live the camera.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

J Mascis & the Fog
Free So Free

The connection between hoary old grunge refugees and trashy pulp-horror novels has never been widely publicised before now. But unless my memory fails me, the Fog was a Frank Herbert novel in which a malicious bunch of densely collected water-droplets drove the seemingly peaceful inhabitants of a seaside town to commit despicable acts of wanton evil, in one point driving a boarding school PE class to turn on their teacher, tie him to the wall bars and fuck him in the ass till he bled to death.

Fortunately, this particular Fog doesn’t seem to have the same effect on dear old J Mascis. True, he may have been the cause of thousands of cases of acute deafness, and there was that time when he spilt up Dinosaur just to get rid of Lou Barlow, only to reform the band the next day without telling him, but hey, Lou seems to be dealing with it a bit better now. Well, the next Sebadoh album may disprove that last bit, but let’s let bygones by bygones and look to the future.

But the future seems to be one thing that J has no truck with. In fact, ‘Free So Free’ is little more than a celebration of his past. The name of the band may have different, but not a lot else has changed round Mr Mascis’ way. Which is, like, totally fucking great. ‘Free So Free’ is everything that made Dinosaur great in the first place. The laconic drawl is there, the hooks remain as mighty as they ever were and J’s guitar solos still have that habit of making a break for the state border as soon as you take your eye off them. Recent single ‘Everybody Lets Me Down’ may as well be called ‘The Wagon, Part 2’, while album opener ‘Freedom’ even starts with a patented Lou-era bass line.

So, if we ignore the nasty weather conditions, ‘Free So Free’ is business as usual. The songs may well have remained the same, but given that they’re every bit as good as ‘Freak Scene’ and ’Feel The Pain’, you’re not gonna catch me complaining.