Lou Barlow, “Brace the Wave”

LOU-Barlow_Brace-the-Wave_coverLou Barlow
Brace the Wave
JOYFUL NOISE/DOMINO
6/10

In his self-penned press biography, Lou Barlow (of Dinosaur Jr and Sebadoh fame) presents his latest album Brace the Wave as a collection of “‘Lou’s Anxiety Song(s),’ less fretful, still restless.” While there is definitely a sense of nervous energy that propels the album, it’s largely tempered by the simple acoustic nature of Barlow’s music. Accompanied by little more than a baritone ukulele or an acoustic guitar, Barlow still manages to nail the tinny echoes and urgency of garage rock (the fact that the album was recorded in six days might have something to do with it). The cause of Barlow’s anxiety is vague, but it manifests itself in some truly great lyrical moments (“In the end I won’t pretend that everything’s all right / What I deny will crawl inside and keep me up at night”) that give these bare-bones folk songs some needed edge.

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