Sunday, June 26, 2005

Lost in the Shuffle in 2005:

Lou Barlow
released January 25, 2005
rating: ***

Emoh? No, Lou Barlow hasn't gone post-hardcore on us. No, no, Emoh is home spelled backwards. Oh Lou, so clever! Oh wait, why didn't anyone else think of this before? Record title analysis aside, this solo effort from one of indie rock's favorite songwriters is actually, well, impressive. Unfortunately, given all the attention to his participation in the reunion of Dinosaur Jr and their subsequent tour, Emoh could very well be overlooked instead of drooled over. The record is consistent, that's for sure: accompanied sporadically by cello, light percussion, et al, Barlow and his acoustic guitar work wonders on several numbers. "Caterpillar Girl" is among the highlights, skipping along with Barlow's comforting vocals, while "If I Could," in which he doubts a relationship, will have some critics swooning and comparing him to Elliott Smith. The unexpected cover of Ratt's "Round and Round" is likely one of the best acoustic covers of an '80s pop-metal song, ever, as Barlow brings out a desperately heartfelt side that we never knew was there. "Holding Back the Year," which could have folks wondering about a mid-life crisis based on song title alone, beckons to be examined. And that's enough emo for 30-something, longtime fans to last for months. -Kenyon Hopkin

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