J Mascis - Several Shades of Why LP

(Sub Pop, 2011)



“A stripped down acoustic affair that, while not markedly different from his [Dinosaur Jr.] work in terms of songwriting, lets listeners who can’t discern the sonic subtleties of his writing past his band’s cacophony an opportunity to hear what those who can are enjoying.

Even without his electric axe (and accompanying pedal board and crater of Marshall stacks) Mascis is still a virtuso. That’s by no means surprising, but it still makes this record an eye-opener — feeling revealing, yet oddly familiar, in that you can take almost any one of the album’s ten tracks and immediately hear it’s full-band, rocked-out arrangement in your mind’s ear.

Here, the dense walls of distortion are traded for beautifully layered tapestries of acoustic guitar lines. While most of them sound like they could just as easily live all over the next Dino record, the notes that glisten and breathe, out from under the weight of mountainous distortion — as on the title track — confess and spotlight a tenderness that was just a nuance of his Dino work, conveying all the vulnerability that’s buried beneath the band’s barrage of noise.” - Adam Gold for American Songwriter