Intoxicating Alt. Exultancy: J Mascis, Several Shades of Why

If you've witnessed recent press shots of Dinosaur Jr. man J Mascis, his argent locks breezing about a look of sheer content, his first solo stab on Sub Pop isn't the altogether buoyant affair perhaps forecast, as preconceived distortion is hacked back to reveal a delicate voice that cracks and crumbles on the LP's eponymous track. While Mascis may temporarily go it alone, he's far from lonesome as a slew of indie architects feature, from Band of Horses' Ben Bridwell to Matador pioneer Kurt Vile and baroque-popstrels Broken Social Scene's head honcho Kevin Drew, all of whom come together quite blissfully on Not Enough, rickety choral harmony offset by acoustica brighter than the reflection of the sun on the shiny side of the CD. Recorded in the sleepy redbrick surrounds of Amherst, Massachusetts, Very Nervous and Love is suitably inconspicuous in the most delightful of ways, intoxicating alt. exultancy that succinctly epitomises loveless adolescent solitude over clattering reverb doing its utmost to obfuscate the pseudo-exotic twangs that eventually emerge from a forlorn masterpiece. Is It Done meanwhile is as quintessentially American as an artery-clogging 14oz hamburger tie-dyed in stars and stripes and smothered in plastic cheese, ambling in gloriously cinematic desolation before a rousing candy cane guitar solo interjects. Occasionally Mascis wanders off into the realms of subdued Grohl heart-splurging, as on the ever so slightly dreary Make It Right and the drab Too Deep, yet for the most part Several Shades of Why is significantly more hum-along than humdrum, the downtempo electric whirring of Can I affirming that there's life in this one yet, that Mascis is at his most omnipotent when not merely feeling the pain, but welcoming and writhing in it.