J Mascis might be hailed as laying the foundation for the Grunge movement in the 90s, but he’s also proved he’s no slouch in modern times too. J has released a steady stream of records since the reformation of Dinosaur Jr. in 2007, and has even built up a solid collection of his own too. Elastic Days is the latest solo record of his, and it is a beauty.
What I love most about J Mascis’ own discography is the strong contrast it cuts against the work of Dinosaur Jr. The trio are known for walls of amplified guitar riffs, thunderous basslines and roaring shreds whereas J’s solo material is a little softer. The acoustic guitar is the main drive of his solo ventures, and as shown for seven years now, he’s quite a dab hand at it. Also, right now is the perfect time for you to check out his immense cover of Mazzy Star’s ‘Fade Into You’.
By this point, the formula is pretty set in stone. The highlights are the guitars and J’s strained vocals – all of which combine throughout this new record to lay down a sound that’s bold in sound but full of pain beneath. This makes essentially every song armed with the tools to tug at the heartstrings just a tad, but J does a great job adding in little tidbits of Poppy or melodic goodness to keep things bouncy. The heavily led D chord of ‘See You At the Movies’ kicks off Elastic Days with an optimistic beginning that makes way for some glorious Mascis solos, and it cuts a nice contrast between J’s otherwise pessimistic voice.
‘I Went Dust’ sets off as a lone wanderer but reaches it’s destination as a fully-fledged group, contributing some anthemic drums and another electric solo to kick off one hell of a listen. The slight addition of piano in the background of ‘Picking Out The Seeds’ turns it into a song perfect for a long journey, and the dramatic grooves to ‘Cut Stranger’ adds a touch of unexpected swing to the record.
Elastic Days is another solid record from J Mascis. It’s an entertaining listen that provides enough laid back vibes to exist in the background, but offers enough branches to explore that add some much needed variety and vibrancy to the mix. This dude just knows how to produce good music, and has continued to craft one of the most consistent discographies around, and this new record is further proof of that.