With songs like this, buoyancy was never going to be a problem.
As you’d expect from the prototype slacker, the details are vague, but the name is alarmingly fitting. It might be a joke on his own absent-minded image, but nonetheless his solo band is called The Fog, and [a]J Mascis.[/a] – who with [a]Dinosaur Jr.[/a] opened up the world for the grunge revolution and then decided to skip the party – has no idea what the members actually did.
It matters little because, while it’s taken the legendary somnambulist three years to get around to recording this, it’s been well worth the wait. For the record the bare facts are as follows – basically the work of J alone, it features the vocals of Guided By Voices‘ Bob Pollard, and the guitar of Kevin Shields. J, however, doesn’t know exactly what Shields did but, as swathes of this album feature oodles of FX scree (especially the brute propulsive title track), he could appear on just about anything.
The screech effect is highly apparent, then, but this is not as flat-out as Dinosaur‘s early period. Instead, it’s somewhere between the two as ‘Same Day’ revels in stacked muscle, ‘All The Girls’ revolves around a ghostly sloth, and everything else comes coated in blatant ’70s AOR rock, casually tossed-away guitar solos and a liberal splash of that trademark guitar fuzz.
More importantly, it’s also a timely reminder of his pervading influence. Because, whilst ‘Waistin” is crying out to be described as sounding like Smog and ‘Ground Me To You’ practically begs the term Pavementesque, the fact that Bill Callahan and Steve Malkmus learnt practically all they know perched upon J‘s knee precludes such terms.
That vindication of his alternative legend status also presents the only possible objection – he’s really doing little more than treading water here. But, he probably figures, why bother wasting all that energy swimming when class will always float to the surface? With songs like this, buoyancy was never going to be a problem.