Sound — 7
Rock group Sebadoh have been giving their own unique on the indie rock genre throughout the past two and a half decades. Formed by Dinosaur Jr. bass guitarist Lou Barlow and Eric Gaffney back in 1986, Sebadoh is credited to helping pioneer the lo-fi music scene. During the band's earlier efforts such as 1990's "Weed Forestin'" and "Sebadoh III" from '91, the members of Sebadoh would implement low-fidelity recording techniques on such now considerably "outdated" technology as four-track machines. Following his departure from Dinosaur Jr. during this early time period, creating music with Sebadoh provided Lou Barlow an outlet for him to express his anger and frustration. During their initial run, Sebadoh issued a catalog of seven studio albums alongside a handful of EPs, all of which consistently maintained the band's unique, signature style of indie rock. Up until most recently, the members of Sebadoh released their final studio effort in 1999, in the form of their sixth studio album "The Sebadoh." Fans of the group have been clinging on to these favorited recordings for the past decade, patiently awaiting for new material to surface. This seemed highly unlikely as time progressed; that is, of course, until now. Sebadoh fans rejoice, as the band has just now released their long awaited seventh installment. "Defend Yourself" has the members of Sebadoh remaining true to the sound previously showcased on their earlier collective efforts. Sebadoh aren't looking to evolve upon their style; if it isn't broke, why should they try and fix it? They are instead taking a nostalgic approach to how they create new music, by using the same familiar elements that popularized their past studio albums. One of the best examples off of the new record is "I Will," a song which features complimentary guitar playing, quiet percussion work and a gloomy lead vocal performance. Having all of these unique musical pieces brought together once again does provide the instrumental side of "Defend Yourself" with a strong Sebadoh-vibe which established fans will easily be able to pick up on. But it is the production quality that drives this album out of the park. Sebadoh returned to that same four-track machine recording style previously implemented on their earlier albums, which considering the fact that the band is musically making a nostalgic return-to-form only compliments the music that much more.
Lyrics — 7
Lead vocalist Lou Barlow doesn't try to do anything new or necessarily creative with his lyrical execution of singing style on Sebadoh's new studio album. Yes, it is 2013, and perhaps it would have been nice, at least interesting, to hear Barlow to try his hand at primarily using his higher octave instead of predominantly remaining in a quiet talking-tone. However, as I mentioned before, this is an album that strongly appears to be an attempt at a return-to-form, and throughout Sebadoh's earlier efforts Barlow's deep singing style was an instantly identifying factor in their music. So while he doesn't do anything creative, I have to applaud Lou's vocal performance as it does do a noteworthy job of continuing the nostalgic listening experience.
Overall Impression — 7
Sebadoh do everything within their power to deliver a nostalgic performance with their long awaited seventh studio album "Defend Yourself." By doing everything from using the same recording equipment previously implemented on the band's earlier efforts, to almost copying the same timing and chord progressions of previously released songs, Sebadoh manage to give a familiar yet refreshing listening experience. One thing's for certain: any fan of the band's earlier efforts will have no difficulty in enjoying this new outing for themselves.