J Mascis and the Fog CD Review

J Mascis + The Fog – More Light – 11 song CD (Artemis Records)
Produced by J Mascis Engineered mostly by Tim O’heir
Mixed by John Agnello Recorded at Bob’s Place in Amherst, MA
Mastered by Scott Hull at Classic Sound

J Mascis isn’t working with bassist Mike Johnson anymore and the name Dinosaur Jr has been retired into the pre-grunge hall of fame. The formation of a new band named the Fog might signal a new beginning but it doesn’t sound like one. No one is in the band anyway. It’s just J with his unmistakably whiny voice singing things like If you loved me, I don’t know, Did I miss it ? and Where’s the Peace I Crave? With lyrics like these and song titles like I’m not Fine , J Mascis makes it plain he hasn’t entered into some new satisfied stage of his life in which he would be confused for Don Henley. He’s still our dislocated and beat-up pal who likes his fuzz guitar tones loud and noisy.

This collection of tunes was laid down between the fall of 98 and the spring of 99 and quietly released last October. The title track, with its maelstrom of whirling feedback and distortion is the only one that really demands attention. Kevin Shields from My Bloody Valentine helped out on guitar on that one and with a few other things on the record as well. Bob Pollard from Guided by Voices also chipped in with back-up vocals for three tracks. J may consider working with his talented friends more often to shake up the tempos and moods he gravitates to. However, there’s something to be said for a winning horse and these are the moods and tempos which made Dinosaur Jr. a very listenable group even after they stopped being a highly influential one. As for this disc, More Light is an enjoyable but inessential outing. (2 and a half stars) -Eric Holland

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