Album Reviews: Emoh by Lou BarlowLou Barlow, the prolific godfather of lo-fi, has yet another project under another name. This time he’s not Dinosaur Jr., Sebadoh, or Folk Implosion. He’s just Lou Barlow, a fitting moniker for the most straightforward and personal work of his illustrious career. When any of the key names of the indie/alt-rock movement (Paul Westerberg, Bob Mould, R.E.M., et al) releases a new album, there will always be mixed reactions. If they try something new, they’re attacked for losing their edge. If they re-tread common ground, they’re dubbed stale. Emoh deftly handles the age-old catch-22, and will please fans and critics alike.
The opening track, “Holding Back the Year,” is an earnest pop song with country-tinges and harmonies that‘d make The Eagles jealous (although he’s more Jay Farrar than Don Henley). His cover of Ratt’s “Round-N-Round” lets us know he doesn’t take himself too seriously. But Lou’s fans will be happy to know that he’s still miserable after all these years -- the majority of the album’s material is centered around pain, jealousy, self-doubt and sacrilege.
Lou Barlow has found that seemingly unattainable balance between fresh and comfortable by utilizing a folky Americana sound that is well-suited for this singer/songwriter. These are the most well-produced and accessible songs of his career, and could garner him some new fans that weren’t so keen on his patented, too-spare-for-its-own good productions of yore. -- Doug Kamin
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