Tied to a Star
Reviewed by: Kelly Galloway
Known for his heavy electric riffs in the slacker-rock band that has become iconic since bursting onto the scene in the mid-eighties, J Mascis shows us a softer side by delivering acoustic, folk-inspired harmonies on his new album, Tied to a Star. The Dinosaur Jr. frontman pairs his creaky falsetto with intricate acoustic jams, allowing us to focus on his voice as it meanders from song to song.
Mascis’ second solo album opens with the track “Me Again” and listeners drift into tranquility as he soothes with dreamy melodies and introspective lyrics. As the album gently flows from track to track, it’s hard to imagine Mascis outside of this element.
All ten tracks are so fitting that they seem to blend together (which is not necessarily a bad thing), taking you on a forty-minute scenic drive through Mascis’ mind. And while the tracks seem to bleed into one another, “Every Morning” is an upbeat song that erupts with sunshine and guitar riffs, and sets itself apart from the rest of the album. Not to say the other ten tracks are forgettable—far from it. They’re just, well, a bit more laid back. “Wide Awake” is a gentle melody that combines the fragility of Mascis’ drawn-out voice with that of Chan Marshall. The result of the duet is haunting and beautiful.
Tied to a Star captures the same feeling of Several Shades of Why, Mascis’ 2011 solo album that surprised fans with quieter, more personal tracks. If you’re a fan of Mascis’ sweeter side, this album is not to be missed.