Album | J Mascis – Tied To A Star


We don’t cover too many Dinosaur Jr records on FFS, but the new solo record from band leader J. Mascis is a delicate and pretty affair. The guitars are inevitably gorgeous. The record at first doesn’t seem to go anywhere other than in pleasant circles, but it just takes its time to work its magic. The songs are all very similar and the challenge here isn’t an obvious one. The record never quite comes alive, but grows all the same.

From the artwork, it feels something odd and magical might lurk within the confines of these songs, but it takes an age to get going as you might hope. It doesn’t quite catch fire. But then something happens…

‘Trailing Off’ has quite an epic and grand ending, which feels quite rich after the limited exploration over the previous seven tracks. ‘Come Down’ follows. It’s repetitive, but like being caught in a spider’s web. It’s a delicious affair that you can’t not watch, as the spider closes in on its prey and then the sweet acoustic guitar strumming falls out and the capture, that didn’t need to be shown, is undeniable.

By the end of the album the show has come alive. It’s like the curtains that covered the man in the first half of the album have been drawn open, a spotlight has been shined on the man, sat on a stool at centre stage, and he has decided to wow the crowd with every soulful note. The ending of this record is a thing of great beauty. It’s not even that the first half wasn’t wonderful, just that it has some mellow restraint as if the spotlight were being shunned before realisation that he was totally befitting of that limelight, and cutting loose.

So, it’s an odd one. Repeated listens only reveal the entire package’s charms further. It takes a little time and patience. Many music listeners don’t have that. If the thirst for a quick fix isn’t met then it is simply seen as boring. There is definitely something herein that is worth pursuing and taking time with. Whether you decide to do that or not is entirely up to you. There is however the bones of a great creature here, perhaps even, the ones that adorn the front cover of this record so very curiously.