Jason Loewenstein

At Sixes and Sevens
/sub pop; 2002/

rating : 6.5



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Back in high school, when SEB WOOd and I were politically ostracized (well, the truth is we just wouldn’t speak to our classmates because they were either right-wing Fear Factory fans or dancefloor addicts but we’ve always thought it was more romantic to pretend to be rejected), we used to listen a lot to Sebadoh’s Bakesale and Harmacy. I guess we kinda worshipped the guys hiding behind this nonsense Sebadoh word. Once in a while we met girls who were listening to Sebadoh as well. Those were the days ! Those few days were sensational moments when we made informal symposiums discussing our favourite bands’ merit and quarrelling bitterly about who in the band deserves the credit. Eventually we fell in love but that’s another story. Anyway, when talking about Sebadoh, everyone was always asserting that Lou Barlow deserves all the credit for these wonderful albums while we stood up for Jason Loewenstein who was unfairly considered as a white trash ox just being able to bellow in the microphone. Of course, he wrote some songs such as “Crystal Gypsy” but he wrote some wonderful songs in which he sings very well. For example, he made “Not Too Amused” which is my favourite songs on Bakesale (Sebadoh’s best album in my opinion). 

We still don’t know if Sebadoh has split up for good but after Lou Barlow’s last Sentridoh album which is really middle-of-the-road, Jason Loewenstein releases his solo debut entitled At Sixies and Sevens. This album has not been much appraised because 1) we all have in mind all those great Sebadoh albums, 2) this album sounds much more like a Dinosaur Jr album than a Sebadoh one. The result is sometimes good (“transform” and “codes” which particularly remind me of J mascis because of the solos) but sometimes it unfortunately becomes conventional us rock (“funerals” gives the impression that he has been hanging around way too much with Soul Asylum or Blind Melon). The album contains too many songs, some of which are quite boring because they sound like the aforementioned bands (“circle”, “roswell to Jerusalem”, “mistake”). In “h/m”, he even tries so hard to make a stoner song that he could have offered it for the last Foo Fighters album! C’mon, stay indie please. 
Fortunately, some tracks are reminiscent of Sebadoh: “I’m a shit” is head-bopping and personal. It is the best song on the album and along with “Casserole”, it is close to Bakesale’s spirit. “More drugs” seems to be a Sebadoh b-side and “crazy Santana” (apparently a mockery) makes one think of Sebadoh 3. Finally, there are two surprising songs (“angle” and “nyc3”) that sound like the highly underrated group Polvo because of the guitar lines, the fills and the structure but the singing being quite different, these tracks are rather exciting.

At Sixies and Sevens
is not that bad but boring songs prevail over brilliant ones. And that’s a pity. I’m part of these people who would like Sebadoh to reform because if you take the best songs from Lou Barlow’s last Sentridoh album and from Jason Lowenstein’s At Sixies and Sevens, you’ve probably got a great album. Maybe we should set up an e-petition…

-Blacklisted Igor

/nov 15th 2002/