Sebadoh - Bakesale
US lo-fi slacker-rock gang get reissued...
'Bakesale', the fifth album from American lo-fi pioneers Sebadoh, was one of the acts most accessible records, and is the latest to get the reissue treatment courtesy of Domino Records. That 'Bakesale' has a higher production quality than other releases doesn’t stop it being rough on the ears; right from the off, ‘License to Confuse’ has all the slick sheen of a £5 amp in a corrugated iron shack, with far from the sweetest of vocals. It’s ramshackle, fuzzy and raw.
But just because it’s sometimes out of tune, doesn’t mean it doesn’t have any tunes; ‘Magnet’s Coil’ and ‘Skull’ are more straightforward and structured, and the excellent build-up of the more aggressive ‘Not Too Amused’ make them highlights, along with the harder, grungey ‘S. Soup’ (yeah, the S stands for what you might think. How rude). Throughout, the lyrics of Barlow and Loewenstein are excellent; emotional, honest and often frustrated and self-critical.
However, beyond this album’s importance to fans of lo-fi and American indie-rock, 'Bakesale' is a rather dull album. A number of the songs are fairly similar sounding despite the lyrical quality, and their love of a rough-around-the-edges sound may have helped define a host of future acts, but it's not a sound that's dated well. While this is a classic album that can school many on where their favourite bands got their ideas, there's ultimately little here beyond nostalgia and material for completists.