J Mascis: Several Shades Of Why

Grunger bins the fuzz box.

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The last thing you might expect from the slacker overlord J Mascis is an album full of fragile but tuneful folk songs, recorded for the most part on acoustic guitars. But that’s just what his second solo album proper is.

Several Shades Of Why comes after 25 years of fronting stoner grunge evergreens Dinosaur Jr, and is not the entirely acoustic affair that was promised. Instead it’s a mainly unplugged selection of original songs which run from chiming West Coast Americana to classic English-sounding folk.

Neither is it entirely solo, featuring such guests as Matador garage rocker Kurt Vile, Sophie Trudeau from A Silver Mount Zion and Ben Bridwell from A Band Of Horses. For someone whose name is synonymous with extravagant FX, his guitar style is surprisingly satisfying and (as on Is It Done) he still shreds a fuzzed out solo when he needs to.

Mascis clearly hasn’t run out of steam, or indeed ideas, yet.