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“DD Review: J Mascis – Elastic Days.”

Score: 5.5/10

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The Bandcamp blurb for this new J Mascis solo album delivers this gargantuan introduction taking us all the way back to the 1980s and the spawn of Mascis’ band “Dinosaur,” spanning six-odd arduous paragraphs and including just about every useless piece of information under the sun, it seems. And, in general, Elastic Days, whatever this crap is supposed to be (a piece of “product,” likely), is orchestrated with the sort of poker-faced, emotionless pompousness symptomatic of somebody who’s taken in too much praise, to the point of drastically waning level of respect for audience.

Ok, let’s start from the top. “See You At the Movies” is probably the only listenable song on this album and indeed it does have that East Coast “slacker” feel not unlike a Kurt Vile is likely to channel during one of his most auspicious efforts. To top it off, the chorus is dang clever: “See you at the movies / The movies in my mind”.

And yeah it basically is just like a Kurt Vile song (or Kurt Vile is just like a Dinosaur Jr. album, whichever the case may be), but this instrumental uniformity really becomes a problem on the rest of this LP, with two of the first four songs on Elastic Days egregiously aping “What If I Knew” on electric guitar solo sound and technique. Then, the instances of plagiarism pile up bulbously early on (and if you thought John Fogerty’s record label was ridiculous for claiming self-copying then you’ve never heard “See You at the Movies” and the line “I’ll just try to stall”, in which Mascis even mimics the exact vocal rhythm that takes place in Dinosaur Jr.’s “Crumble” and that “stalling” account in there), this entire album basically playing like an etude in unoriginality. The lack of creativity and emotion going into the vocals and solos on this album indicate vividly what often manifests as the importance of bandmates and a plurality of contributions (to Mascis’ credit he did shoulder a lot of work here, even handling drum parts himself). “Sky Is All We Had,” for instance, is obviously an outtake from the sessions of I Bet on Sky (assuredly a really solid Dinosaur Jr. album from 2012) and one of the strains is a sheer transcription of Peter Frampton’s “I Love Your Way.” Even old Western Massachusetts “Dinosaur” fans have to admit that’s not very “hardcore” and neither is anything about this album which is more laced with sappy, downtempo whining than a season finale of The Connors.

 

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