Wednesday, December 14, 2011
J Mascis Turns It Down
J Mascis' Several Shades of Why is a record unlike the ones I'm used to him producing. Gone is the trademark wall of distortion and guitar antics and present are the gentle lazy strums of an acoustic guitar. It's a bit weird, I have to say, to hear him singing his characteristic slackadaisical style with only an acoustic guitar behind him but here he is doing it. Several Shades of Why doesn't even contain drums...it's a simple singer songwriter sort of thing with some help from a couple of friends.
I guess you could call Several Shades of Why a slacker folk record but I'm not sure that's really that's fair. I've kind of decided that Several Shades of Why is Mascis' vacation album. I kind of picture J on the 19th hole of a golf course (he's an avid golfer) just playing a guitar after an afternoon on the links and having some fun…with a recorder. It's a lazy weekend kind of record that’s all about kicking back and doing nothing...which if you know J Mascis he has championed for ages.
Several Shades of Why is J Mascis at his quietest. With the exception of a couple 30 second guitar solos, Several Shades of Why is without fireworks of any kind. It is interesting stuff to say the least but not what you would expect. It's a nice sidestep from the deafening guitar work we're used to and even though it's folk-ish, I still found it fun to listen to.