J Mascis

Elastic Days

Sub Pop

Nov 09, 2018 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share


Find It At: AMAZON

The "acoustic" album, more often than not, is a risky move. Yet, on J Mascis' latest solo, "acoustic" album, Elastic Days, the immortal indie shredder regresses into a catastrophically vulnerable state of mind. If you're seeking the discordant noise of Dinosaur Jr.'s catalogue, this is in no way the album for you. Instead, Mascis retreats to his mellow, undisturbed ways of Several Shades of Why and Tied to a Star, never flamboyant or over the top. In fact, Mascis sounds completely disconnected from the guitar-shredding he boasts with Dinosaur Jr. Even when there is an electric guitar solowhich there are still plenty throughout Elastic Daysits tone is cleaner, blended fruitfully and embracing a much more subtle element; Mascis' guitar isn't the focal point of Elastic Days, but a mere attribute.

Elastic Days is gentle, soothing, and unprecedented, much like Neil Young's Hitchhiker, recorded in 1976 and released in 2017. Both albums share a similar temperament, earnest additions to already storied discographies. Neither album is the ideal entry point into either's repertoire, but for long time fans and enthusiasts, they are modest additions that will consistently deliverand occasionally surprise. Take "Cut Stranger," a loose and eruptive turning point on Elastic Days, for example: Mascis' acoustic arrangements are tuned down low, and a jittery energy overtakes Mascis and his wistful vocal delivery.

In the process, Mascis attempts to make something that, on a surface level, represents a folk album. But Mascis isn't capable of making "folk" music, even when he's alone with an acoustic guitar. At best, Mascis makes a dark blend of acoustic pop, his nervousness still bleeding through every bit of Elastic Days. It contains every element of Dinosaur Jr.'s appeal, from the soaring hooks to the blistering guitar solosthough Mascis has cleaned his tone up, or at least turned the master volume down from a 10and inward. (www.jmascis.com)

Author rating: 7/10

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