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Sebadoh - Act Surprised Music Album Reviews

Where 2013’s cautious Defend Yourself attempted a belated recovery from a disappointing major-label debut, the indie-rock icons’ latest sounds like the work of a band refreshingly free of baggage.

Arriving a good 14 years after its predecessor, Sebadoh’s Defend Yourself, in 2013, was less a comeback than an act of closure, like one of those standalone reunion specials that follow the demise of a beloved long-running TV series. Where much of the indie-rock icons’ celebrated 1990s catalog invited us to eavesdrop on Lou Barlow’s roller-coaster romance with his main muse (girlfriend-turned-wife Kathleen Billus), his contributions to Defend Yourself updated their relationship status one last time with a striking degree of finality. “Someone else has found her way into my soul,” he sang at the top of album opener “I Will”: “Things have changed, no longer need to be with you.” Even if you were a casual listener with little knowledge of Barlow’s personal life, the line still stung, because it also summed up the average Sebadoh fan’s relationship with the band at the end of the ’90s.


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