III [US Expanded]

by: Sebadoh

Along with Pavement's Slanted & Enchanted, Sebadoh III is one of the cornerstones of '90s indie rock, establishing the dubious lo-fi style as a credible subgenre. Though the recording techniques give the album a distinctive, hazy atmosphere, the music itself is fascinating. Divided between contributions from Lou Barlow, Eric Gaffney, and Jason Loewenstein, Sebadoh III doesn't necessarily offer a coherent listen. Instead, it's a variety of unexpected detours, with each track offering something different from what preceded. Barlow immediately distinguishes himself with his folky acoustic musings, which not only have sensitivity to spare, but also strong melodies. Gaffney, on the other hand, consigns himself to the role of hardcore noise rocker, often with varying results. Loewenstein falls between the two extremes, acting as a bridge between the two songwriters. With such a variety of styles and sounds, Sebadoh III is a kaleidoscopic summation of various American underground rock genres of the '80s, as well as a launching pad for the introspective obsessions of '90s indie rock. [Upon its 15th anniversary in 2006, Sebadoh III was reissued as a deluxe double-disc set containing a remastered version of the album on the first disc (it does sound cleaner, but it still sounds lo-fi) and a disc of 18 non-LP rarities. Foremost among these is "Gimme Indie Rock," a mock anthem upon its release in 1991 that still stands as a wickedly funny satire, but the rest of the disc -- a hodgepodge of songs recorded both at Fort Apache and at home around the same time as III, some released, some not, highlighted by a four-track demo of "The Freed Pig" -- is certainly worth hearing, comparing quite favorably to the proper album. Plus, it ends with the wonderful "Showtape '91," an 11-minute tape collage of noise, one-liners, jokes, and mispronunciations that was used as an introduction on their supporting tour for III -- it was available in edited form on the Soul and Fire CD single, but it's here unedited and it's worth the price of admission on its own.] ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine

Please enable Javascript to view this page competely.