Picks and Pans Review: Bakesale

updated 09/05/1994 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 09/05/1994 AT 01:00 AM EDT


The Boston rock trio Sebadoh used to make music as opaque as their name, but their days of assembling willfully insular, low-fi sound collages seem to be behind them. Although Bakesale kicks off with a guitar-driven ditty called "License to Confuse," Sebadoh has never sounded as plainspoken or nakedly sincere as they do on these 15 concise slices of edgy introspection. Sometimes harshly visceral, sometimes plangently melodic, Sebadoh songs are compelling glimpses of young men grappling with their neuroses and confounded by relationships. "I know romance isn't everything/ But I'm obsessing just the same," sings guitarist-bassist Lou Barlow on "Together or Alone," certainly one of the year's most guileless pop songs. Other songs, such as "Skull" and "Rebound," tend to reverberate in the consciousness long after their final notes have sounded. Sebadoh are cult figures now, but if they keep on going this way, they may well become the band of choice for those who find the combination of boyish sensitivity and tuneful pop irresistible. (Sub Pop)

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