Jason Loewenstein

At Sixes and Sevens (Sub Pop)

On the front of At Sixes and Sevens, Jason Loewenstein's name appears scrawled in a feverishly etched, scratched-over-for-emphasis font very similar to the one Pavement used to grace the cover of its celebrated 1992 album Slanted and Enchanted. Which is worth mentioning because Loewenstein is a former member of Sebadoh, another lo-fi, hit-and-miss outfit that covered much of the same ground as Pavement did way back in the '90s. Both bands have since shattered, littering the floors of indie rock with a wealth of solo albums and side projects further pursued. Too bad Loewenstein is no Stephen Malkmus.

Loewenstein is behind nearly every aspect of At Sixes and Sevens, his first solo venture since joining Sebadoh more than 10 years ago. As if desperate to assert his many talents now that he's free from the shackles of being an actual member of an actual band, he took part in the plucking, strumming and banging of each and every instrument. He also designed the cover. He even apparently pressed the record button. Ambitious, yes. Successful? Not entirely. What results is 41 minutes and three seconds of the same straightforward alternative, rendered with the same active electric guitar and the same knocking drums. The primary differences between many of the songs are the track number and the title. Though there are a handful of bright spots (the closing track, "Transform," a driving slice of bitter, biting noise, being one of them), the rest is fairly monotonous, suggesting indeed that Loewenstein might have been better off with a little help from his friends. It's cut-and-dry rock and roll. A little too dry.

 
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