Although Lou Barlow's contributions to Sebadoh's masterpiece Bakesale stand as the 1994 album's most immediate tracks, there's something to be said about Jason Loewenstein's nuanced songs, which tend to reveal themselves only after repeat listens. On Spooky Action, Loewenstein's second solo LP and first in 15 years, the Boston multi-instrumentalist follows this same recipe; the listener is required to chip away at his songs' tough exteriors to find the real beauty in his craft.
Over 38 minutes, Loewenstein delivers 13 short and driving tracks that ride his wonderfully sloppy guitar riffs and crashing drum style. Although the album contains a rough patch of three or four unfocused songs that clog up the middle, much of Spooky Action shows Loewenstein pushing out emotionally focused vocal melodies whose unpredictability and shrewdness are rewarding. "Navigate" is reminiscent of mid-career Hüsker Dü for its rawness, and "The One" and "The Fuck Out" contain perhaps the world's most angry guitar twang, while closer "Light the Room" (one of only two songs to break the three-and-a-half-minute mark), stands next to anything from Loewenstein's Sebadoh heyday.
Spooky Action is an incredibly simple record that's rescued by a primal energy and emotional output that artists half Loewenstein's age wished they possessed. (Joyful Noise)