Sebadoh
Bakesale


4.5
superb

Review

by Alex Robertson STAFF
August 10th, 2010 | 29 replies | 7,200 views


Release Date: 1994 | Tracklist


"I've got a license to confuse," Lou Barlow snarls on the opening track to Bakesale. Which is funny, really: he's not confusing anyone; part of the charm of this album is that, musically, the band gives their all and leave no excess to distract or fog up the songs contained here. You see, certain bands--especially in recent times--have cropped up with certain gimmicks or alluring situational contexts that force the listener to consider whether it's the music, at its core, that's really giving them the pleasure. All of this musical overanalyzation forces some of us to retreat into listening to albums that are good because they have no choice--the only appeal is not in the production, not in the band's history, but in the way they put chords and melodies together in a pleasing way. In this matter, nearly nothing compares to the indie rock of the 90s, where a number of bands (most notably Guided by Voices) made sure you were listening to and enjoying the music, because there was nearly nothing else to pay attention to.

Though they've flown considerably under the radar, Sebadoh embody this as well or even better than most of their better-known peers--the group never overdoses on noise but hits hard with their scuzzy production; they also know the importance of a catchy guitar hook or even lyrics that do more than fill the space. "Skull" is probably the best example of their well-roundedness; a wistful, "Gold Soundz"-esque piece that flows smoothly and tosses out catchy melody after catchy melody without feeling rushed. On the opposite of the spectrum, however, is scuzzy "Careful", which uses an uncomfortable and blaring barely-riff and still manages to make it catchy. On songs like "Careful", Sebadoh skirt around devolving into noisy jams before surprising the listener with some sort of hook or melody to bring the song back down to earth.

In that respect, Sebadoh exercise restraint on all fronts: the songs never go on past their expiration date, the lyrics never devolve into self-deprecating mush, and, as you probably have already figured out, the production is so stripped-down that whether you like the songs or not is up entirely to the songs themselves (although not so stripped-down that you have to enjoy them in spite of it). And, if you're the type that likes a good hook or melody, these songs speak for themselves. In terms of pure catchiness, Bakesale is surpassed by few in its genre, and the band use their production for good, not evil (it lends the songs with a satisfying lo-fi crunch, unlike Slanted & Enchanted, which lends the listener with a headache).

Though you'd be forgiven for thinking of skipping over it--after all, the album doesn't seem to distinguish itself from a league of 90s lo-fi indie rock bands--Bakesale is really not to be missed. It's pure, no-frills indie rock with enough catchy hooks and crunchy riffs to make up for the fact that it may not exactly be "original"--but, hey, who needs that anyway?



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Comments:Add a Comment 
robertsona
Staff Reviewer
August 10th 2010



15019 Comments


eh idk

Athom
Staff Reviewer
August 10th 2010



17204 Comments


the version of Brand New Love on the Freed Weed is one of the best songs ever. oh yeah, and this rules too

Mordecai.
August 10th 2010



8277 Comments


what just happened?

Mordecai.
August 11th 2010



8277 Comments


don't believe you

klap
Staff Reviewer
August 11th 2010



10329 Comments


god haven't heard this in years, i love it. must find my disc

Digging: Literature - Chorus

Mordecai.
August 11th 2010



8277 Comments


you won't find it

Ire
August 11th 2010



41754 Comments


this review is great

I've been wanting to check out Sebadoh recently.

Mordecai.
August 11th 2010



8277 Comments


i bet you have, you sick fuck

robin
Emeritus
August 11th 2010



4248 Comments


boooooooooo

731
August 11th 2010



662 Comments


one of their more boring albums

Kiran
Emeritus
August 11th 2010



6001 Comments


really? shit, this is the only one i've listened to

what are their best?

731
August 11th 2010



662 Comments


Bubble & Scrape and III are my faves



Romulus
August 11th 2010



8423 Comments


I always meant to check this out but I've heard mixed things about this band

4.5 might be enough to take a listen though

IAJP
August 11th 2010



378 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

mega cool release. actually probably the only one i would ever bother listening to again..good review too.

BigTuna
August 11th 2010



5155 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

sounds spectacular

Crowe
August 13th 2010



435 Comments


"the band gives their all and leave no excess"

error verb

robertsona
Staff Reviewer
January 30th 2013



15019 Comments


dont even remember reviewing this in the slightest but man 'together or alone' hurts so good

tommygun
September 6th 2013



24599 Comments


rocks

Digging: Broods - Evergreen

tommygun
September 6th 2013



24599 Comments


agreed

zakalwe
March 19th 2014



7567 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

This is the second best album of all time with a baby on the cover.

Digging: J Mascis - Tied to a Star



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