lou barlow’s handwriting is easily recognised. so is his voice. so is a little more about him.
his folk implosion work is possibly what took part in drawing me to the broader catalogue, knowing it was a play on blues explosion. a bit like the australian band from the 1980s, the celibate rifles as a play on the sex pistols. in both cases, it seems like a gimmick, but their music isn’t.
this album is often heavy and clearly articulated (though lou still sounds like he’s in the background somehow, or a corner with a metal bucket over his head). i think i half criticised grinspoon last night for having little variation in their own catalogue. in reality, the work of the folk implosion has some vivid and beautiful moments, but a lot of it also sounds the same. however, the more typical “rock” fare driving this record is nowhere near the best of the music that lou barlow can write and perform. and it becomes dull.
it has to be said that this is technically called the new folk implosion – the band and the album – because the only common member with earlier days is lou (as always). and i think this might be the first time i’ve covered something that was the last for a band. this album marked the end of the folk implosion altogether, at least as at 2004. who knows when lou might see fit to write and reunite…
the reasons for being last are quite plain to hear. there really was nowhere else to go, and not because they could never beat it. i think they knew it just wasn’t working anymore. there was no more to sing, no more to write, no more effort to be popular.
it worries me in hindsight that lou was actually only ever chasing the money. in the earliest days, it wasn’t about that, with dinosaur jr. but to achieve a genuine living from making music, the big labels had to get involved, and then it was hard to wean one’s self off that teat. i’m not saying it was easy for him, because an album like this conveys just how conflicted he had to be. but the more recent reunion with dinosaur jr that is inevitably breaking some kind of income drought (lucratively) flashes the spectre of $. so too the forthcoming release of new “classic” sebadoh products.
i guess everybody has to use their skills as best they can to get by in this world. i think this was my first realisation that alternative often couldn’t stay that way, and there are no absolutes anywhere in life.
thanks for the lessons lou.