Lou Barlow Brace the Wave
Published Sep 04, 2015On Brace the Wave, Lou Barlow (of Dinosaur Jr. and Sebadoh fame) navigates a twisting folk-tinged path while coming off as equal parts roaming troubadour and lo-fi guru. Barlow keeps things very simple of this record, accentuating the spookier acoustic sounds at the forefront with bursts of electric noise. Opener "Redeemed" is definitely an album highlight, with a constantly moving instrumental line paired with Barlow's almost-whispered vocals. It's a song that never quite feels at peace, with Barlow reaching a quiet yell only to bring it back to that haunting vocal again.
Recorded in only six days, the album revels in fuzz and tape crackles, adding character to Barlow's folky pop songs. Right in the middle is "Wave," a jaunty pop song coloured with ukulele and brushed drums. It stands out from the more conventional folk tunes on the record, filling its three-minute track time with catchy hooks and lyrics about love, suggesting that even gray days sometimes allow a ray or two of sunshine through. (Joyful Noise)