Jason Lowenstein
At Sixes And Sevens CD - Sub Pop

If Lou Barlow harbored any resentment toward Jason Loewenstein, his Sebadoh bandmate, for Loewenstein’s prominent increase in songwriting credits and overall kudos, his anger should now dissipate. Loewenstein’s first solo outing, At Sixes And Sevens, is a thank you note to Mr. Barlow. Although he writes, sings, plays, and produces every track on the record, Jason seems to be guided by the invisible hands of his mentor. Given the sleeker production and more full-bodied sound of At Sixes and Sevens, this still feels like a Sebadoh record. ¶ The opener, “Codes”, is a bar chord rocker in the vein of The Stooges. Loewenstein’s vocals, however, lack the range and intensity of Iggy Pop. The lament of a failed relationship in “Casserole” (What will we do now/ How it all came out/ Digging us a hole/ In the middle of the road) could also serve as an olive branch extended to Mr. Barlow. The implications being that wherever the two land musically, they’ll always find common ground in Sebadoh. “Circles” and “Upstate” stand out as the strongest tracks. In “Circles”, a detached guitar run is joined by haunting vocals, creating the backbone to a hook-laden romp that rises in intensity before settling back into the detached guitar coda. “Upstate” eschews an intro, plows directly into the first verse (“Hey kid I think you got our attention with your back flip…”) and continues to command attention for three minutes of pop pleasure. “I’m A Shit” finds Loewenstein borrowing the scorned lover vocabulary and sympathetic vocal inflections of Barlow. The album suffers only when Jason noodles (“Crazy Santana”) or goes heavy metal riffing (“H/M”,”NYC III”). ¶ I’ve always felt that the purpose of releasing solo records was to explore musical styles that aren’t afforded within the band context. Loewenstein hasn’t done this. Perhaps he doesn’t want to stray too far too soon. Maybe he just wants to keep Lou smiling. (William Hall)



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