Reviews:: Lou Barlow Mirror the Eye

I'll easily admit I'm a sucker for famous Lous. Whitaker, Captain Albano - check. Hell, I even watched Iron Eagle IV just for Mr. Gossett Jr. and his kick ass character name (seriously... Chappy Sinclair is a solid alias).

Where am I going with this nonsense? Well, after the leak of the new Dinosaur Jr. record (which we got in trouble for saying was much better than expected and saw J, Murph, and Lou deliver what longtime fans were looking for - but was light on the Lou), I was happy to hear Lou Barlow was releasing a solo EP to follow up the strong Emoh release.

The EP - out exclusively on Acuarela Records - is a five song journey in home recording. The goal of the EP was to create five songs completely different from the other, and normally those type of projects fail, but Lou's style of work has always been slightly disjointed so this EP sounds pretty natural.

The EP opens with the strongest cut, Yawning Blue Messiah, which follows a similar style to the songs from Emoh. It's a simple acoustic strum to compliment Lou's anger-filled, double tracked vocals.

With Lou's musical history and the well documented fall outs with band members, you'd assume that the line "I miss you brother, but I hate your guts" was directed at someone specific. But after talking to him, and hearing him say - "My songs have always been a tool to actual understand a situation, not put myself above it. It was never a case where I wrote I wasn’t actually trying to attack someone", I think he's just writing emotion, not situation.

Like Son of Bazerk, the next song is a complete change of style. Faith Defies The Night is a distorted anthem where he essentially repeats the title over top of a rocking wash of punk rock chords. I've always said the best thing about Lou's work is his unbridled honesty, and the raw emotion he puts in this release proves that. Instead of covering up flaws or overproducing the tracks, they play like a stream of consciousness.

The ghostly flow of You're a Goat is a dark, moody piece backed by some nice atmospheric touches and it molds into the double-voiced confessional, My Surrender. The album closer shows another side of Lou. It's only 90 seconds, but Mirror the Eye plays like a Billy Bragg track. Underneath the roughness of the song itself is a heart warming song that is the perfect close to the 5-song EP.

Lou is in town this Saturday - March 3rd @ Richard's on Richards, with the original lineup of Sebadoh. I'll be flying across the pond, so this is the most coverage I can give you. Anyone who is checking out the show, please send me pics.

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