A mix of snappy, self-reflective pop songs and fuming rockers
Sebadoh's great subject was tricky interpersonal dynamics, and their records usually seemed like they were half collective acrobat act, half power struggle; even on a musical level, they were the rare '90s indie-rock band as interested in Joni Mitchell as in Black Sabbath. In the mid-period incarnation that produced this 1994 wonder, guitarist Lou Barlow mostly fired off the snappy, self-reflective pop songs (his most passionate song here, "Skull," is about getting high), and bassist Jason Loewenstein specialized in the fuming rockers. But the Bakesale-era Sebadoh was subject to no rules except constant reinvention and self-contradiction — there are three different drummers here, one of whom (Bob Fay) wrote and sang "Temptation Tide" with his Unconvinced bandmate Anne Slinn. The album's sequence rolls out like a great, bizarre mix tape from a tightly wound romantic who's not sure if he wants to spend the rest of his life with you, never see you again, or just, you know, hang out and smoke a bowl.