Defend Yourself

BY Vish KhannaPublished Sep 16, 2013

It's been 14 years since Sebadoh last released a full-length and they attack Defend Yourself with great, gritty new songs and refreshing upgrades to their idiosyncratic aesthetic. Lou Barlow, Jason Loewenstein and Bob D'Amico convened to record this album in May of 2012 after years of semi-Sebadoh live activity and other ventures. Barlow left the professionally fruitful '90s to experience some hardship in the '00s, until he re-joined Dinosaur Jr. That, coupled with the disintegration of his marriage, fuelled a creative fire in him, coaxing him to write songs of ferocity and anguish like only he can. Defend Yourself is informed by this mood of crushing defeat and empowering triumph, with the band's dry, scrappy humour difficult to detect. Though it begins with Barlow's hopeful, almost tentative "I Will" and the beautiful "Love You Here," there's pure post-punk menace in Loewenstein's "Beat" and "Defend Yr Self," recalling Shellac's brainy brawn. The underrated songs of Loewenstein (who recorded the band in his house) get Barlow charged up ("Oxygen"), while D'Amico contributes vaguely surf-y garage rock instrumental "Once," which sounds right at home. There are country-fried flourishes like "State of Mine" and "Can't Depend," but everything hangs together on one of Sebadoh's most eclectic and rewarding releases.
(Joyful Noise)

Latest Coverage