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November 26, 2001 at 1:48 am #43695
2 Reviews of More Light
J. Mascis and the Fog
I had pretty much given up on J. Mascis after 1994’s horrible Dinosaur Jr. release, Without A Sound. As much as I loved You’re Living All Over Me, Bug, and Green Mind; and as much as I kind of liked Where You Been, I really hated just about everything they did after that. J. just seemed to have run out of chops, and his lyrics lacked the emotional wallop they packed on the earlier releases.
Now J. Mascis returns with a solo effort that is bound to restore fans’ faith in the king of self-deprecating gritty pop songs. With the help of Guided by Voices’ Bob Pollard and co-producer Kevin Shields (of My Bloody Valentine fame), J. Mascis has crafted what is without a doubt his strongest album since Green Mind.
As soon as I heard J. ripping through the exhillerating first track, I knew I was in for a treat. Not only is his guitar-playing as good as its ever been, but his vocals sound great. Even better is his wise use of Pollard for backing vocals. On ‘Same Day’ there’s a wonderful contrast between Mascis’ croaking voice and Pollard’s aching, "It’s saaaad to know you’re going…" It’s very effective.
There are so many other gems on this album – ‘Where’d You Go,’ ‘Back Before You Go,’ ‘Ground Me To You,’ and ‘Does This Kiss Fit’ are just a few of the tracks that you’ll probably fall in love with. In any event, if you were ever a Dinosaur Jr. fan, you owe it to yourself to give J. Mascis another chance. He’s certainly earned it with More Light. 9.2
"I WOKE UP" are the first three words out of J Mascis’ mouth on his new record More Light, and he couldn’t be more right. He’s snapped out of his deep sleep with a great record.
Well, we all remember the glory days of the indie pop God, J Mascis. He made some great records: You’re Living All Over Me, Bug, Green Mind, and Where You Been. You see my theory is that J (short for joint!) had stopped smoking the wacky tobaccy, and as a result he put out some bad albums starting with Without a Sound. So, the new record has J Mascis belting out those great guitar licks and emotional lyrics again. He also enlisted help from Bob Polland(Guided by Voices) to help him sing those high pitch backing vocals that J could never quite pull off in the past, and he got help on the production side from Kevin Shields(My Bloody Valentine). The result is a great new album and the resurgence of an indie pop icon. J Mascis, whether he knows it or not, is the Neil Young of the indie world.
The power of this album is that it takes you back to the nostalgia of Dinosaur Jr. when J was the ultimate self-loathing indie rock icon. His albums always seemed to be very theraputic for me. More Light recaptures that magic. Songs like ‘Same Day’, ‘Where’d You Go’, ‘Back Before You Go’, ‘Ammaring’, and ‘Did This Kiss Fit’ give us J wallowing in self-pity with a gritty pop-rock feel. If you are a bit apprehensive about giving J Mascis another chance, it’s okay I was the same way, but do yourself a favor and buy this record, especially if you were a Dinosaur Jr. fan, it won’t let you down. Not quite a 9, but I’ll give him an 8.9
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