Reissues of great albums often run the risk of sounding dated and losing what made them special in the first place. The other side of the coin of course, is that they serve as a magnificent example of how timeless those truly special albums are. The reissue of Sebadoh’s Bubble and Scrape album lies somewhere in between the two, whilst it does sound of its era and a little dated it also serves as a great testament to the bands song writing ability and shows just how many great bands have been influenced, not only by this record but by the band as a whole.
It’s not exactly what you would call easy listening and with its host of bonus tracks it’s a little drawn out. However the spark that made this band so great can still be heard and the original tracks (which are by far the best) still prove that this band can capture the variation of having 3 different songwriters and singers but yet still making it sound like a complete article like no other, not an easy task.
Opener ‘Soul and Fire’ is perhaps the highlight, a colossal grunge effort that twists and turns, with its heartfelt line ‘I think our love is coming to an end…’ enough to put a tear to the eye of even the toughest characters. Lou Barlow’s sensitivity and awkwardness can be heard throughout, and is enough it itself to win my vote but what really strikes is the integrity and passion that lies within all these songs, lyrics are sung with such compelling emotion and the overall rawness of the record gives it that recorded in your living room feel, which makes it sound so much more personal than the vast majority of guitar bands sound in this day and age.
‘Emma Get Wild’ is a fabulous lo-fi classic, that always sounds as if its on the verge of collapse. Then there’s also the beauty of the whimsical acoustic numbers such as ’Happily Divided’, which serve as a brilliant accompaniment to the thrashy guitar sound and reveal that the band are just as comfortable showing their tender side as they are their angst.
This record pretty much proves that essence of tight recordings which we have grown so used to in today’s alternative music scene often comes at the expense of sincerity of emotion. So basically if you want to hear a neat and tidy record avoid this like the plague, if you want depth, meaning and integrity then look no further.