J Mascis Several Shades of Why

J Mascis Several Shades of Why
Considering how enjoyable the last couple of records have been from the reformed Dinosaur Jr., it was a bit of a shock when J. Mascis announced that his next album was going to be an acoustic solo effort. Yet Several Shades of Why is his best record in more than a decade. The songs are quiet and retrospective, with a spooky country folk vibe that makes it very easy to listen to. It's a much more satisfying record than the similar Martin + Me, with Mascis propping himself up with a very adequate supporting cast, including Kurt Vile, Band of Horses' Ben Bridwell, Broken Social Scene's Kevin Drew and Godspeed's Sophie Trudeau. Yet even with all that talent at his disposal, he wisely leaves them in the background, keeping the spotlight on himself. The record succeeds not because of the guests but more in spite of them. Several Shades of Why shows a very different side of Mascis and is a subtle beast that flirts dangerously with greatness on more than one occasion. (Sub Pop)