Sebadoh - The Freed Man

Matt Clutton 28/06/2007

Rating: 3.5/5

With any band that has been plugging away as long as Sebadoh there comes a point when its important to reflect upon what has been achieved thus far. Since 1986 Sebadoh have been steadily churning out wave upon wave of intricately worked indie-rock, influenced by both Lou Barlow's strong folk influences and Eric Gaffney's psychedelic experimental rock persuasions. 'The Freed Man' is a culmination of two decades worth of blood, sweat and tears revealing a vast array of musical talent and strong advances that the band has made in the pioneering lo-fi/indie-rock genre.

Filled to the brim with injections of everyday ambient background noise, low-lying electrical hums and the distorted electrical guitar pulses of what seems to be a pubescent teen with ADHD having a funny turn, the duo experiment by delicately tweaking their tracks with inventive sounds that incarnate a truly intimate experience for anyone that has a spare hour or two to sit and contemplate. Always trying to take their inventive experimentation beyond the capabilities of the other, both Barlow and Gaffney developed a truly unique and radically sounding series of tracks that have gone on to inspire others within the genre like Beck and Guided By Voices.

The lengthy fifty two track release, which has a press release to match, is equally balanced with tracks that cover a range of topics. In the main from track to track there is little difference in the composition, as with most Sebadoh tracks sampling plays a major part in proceedings, spells of dialogue clips alongside expert musicianship from both parties on an array of instruments reveal ear catching diversity.

'Ladybugs' takes a childish viewpoint on life with a highly animated cartoon like dialogue running throughout. 'K-Sensa' perhaps takes this vocal interjection to the extreme, its vocal sampling gone mad with a vast array of vocal experimentation. 'Wrists', 'Jealous Evil', 'Jaundice' and 'Cyster'all give both Barlow and Gaffney a chance to impress their acoustic talents upon the listener and reveal finely tuned vocals and penetrate the soul with their melodic, adaptive lyrics.

Sebadoh certainly show here that lo-fi/indie-rock is not a genre that was lost to the alternative/indie movement of the early 00's without trace, its as appealing as ever, simmering on the back burner. The creative experimentation of both Barlow and Gaffney is unique and this album bares witness to the haywire recording sessions that produced such an original sound. Perhaps a comeback is on the cards.