III

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. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine

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