US indie rock pioneers Sebadoh have hit back with their first album in six years and only their second of the century, but wow is it bang on the mark. Act Surprised kicks out with fifteen short, sharp, zappy songs. They sound as rockin' as ever without ever losing sight of stopping. This new album brings a fresh round of troubled ideas to go with revitalized performances. Despite not recording much in the past couple of decades, the band has a clear focus and drive that pushes away any concern about this return being a nostalgia show.
Like: Pavement, Guided By Voices, Dinosaur Jr.
FCC: 1, 7, 12
Play: 2, 7, 9, 10
1.phantom (2:23) Discordant lead lines, crunching chords, bit of a banger.
2.celebrate the void (3:09) Slows down the pace for the first minute and a half before whipping the proverbial horses.
3.follow the breath (2:13) 1990s indie roots but don't sound like a throwback, is Sebadoh sound revitalized.
4.medicate (3:34) Forces you to dance no matter how appropriate the setting.
5.see-saw (3:37) Great intro, the sound of guitar works really well with the others’ bass and drums.
6.vacation (2:06) Amidst sludgy guitars. Is a nasty piece of work.
7.stunned (2:25) Guitar assault that could masquerade as Dinosaur Jr. songs to the right ears.
8.fool (2:34) Mellow math-punk guitars and arena-toppling Keith Moon drum rolls.
9.raging river (3:11) Classic Sebadoh head banger.
10.sunshine (3:30) Slower song with an urgent drum pattern, it has a great chorus, right when the album needed one.
11.act surprised (3:11) Lo-fi, scuzzy production, splashy cymbals, thwacking drums.
12.battery (3:12) Chorus isn’t quite as big as the verse deserves but it finishes nicely with a load of noise.
13.belief (2:55) Winsome power-pop.
14.leap year (3:15) It’s weird, in a kind of Punk-Prog way, but totally fits the album.
15.Reykjavik (3:32) the melancholy memory/melody of the better times of a relationship