With the release of “State of Mine,” the advance single on Sebadoh’s first full-length in 14 years, fans likely did a double take. This was classic Sebadoh in every way, and if you’re anything like me, it steadied you – finally – after being rattled by the disappointing Secret EP. Defend Yourself sounds as though it could’ve been a Bakesale follow-up (if not for the much-matured subject matter of divorce, but don’t worry, it still comes with plenty of unfettered angst and distorted guitars to accentuate it), with strong offerings the band recorded themselves (thank goodness) as cheaply as possible (there is a God). For those who prefer Sebadoh sweet and folky, “Let It Out” is seasoned by Sentridoh tendencies. But clear standouts are “Oxygen” (as Bakesale as it gets), “Separate” (the fastest it gets) and oddly the opener, “I Will,” which feels fresh and encouraging, and demonstrates there’s no denying Lou Barlow’s most enduring strengths: catchy songwriting and worthwhile lyrical introspection.
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