J MASCIS plays the Great Hall Friday (March 11) at 11 pm as part of CMW. See listing. Rating: NNNN
You wouldn't expect a guy whose concerts involve stacks upon stacks of amps to be a king of understatement, but on his first official solo album J Mascis, erstwhile leader of Dinosaur Jr., offers a surprisingly subtle set of acoustic folk rock.
Mascis famously referred to Dinosaur Jr.'s style as "ear-bleeding country," yet without the piles of electric sludge, Mascis's music is more in line with just country. Though his unmatched guitar prowess often overshadows his other tools, Several Shades Of Why highlights his startling talent as a songwriter. The guitar work, while still impressive, is much more purely melodic than his usual pedal-abusing mode (though he still throws in a few fuzz solos here and there).
The singer's famously lethargic drawl adapts flawlessly to the refined acoustic arrangements, and gorgeous vocal harmonies from guests Kevin Drew (Broken Social Scene) and Ben Bridwell (Band of Horses) lend him a grace rarely found in his day job. Evidently, he's no one-trick pony.
Top track: Not Enough