J Mascis - Tied to a Star

Misfiring solo LP from the Dinosaur Jr leader

Released Aug 25th, 2014 via Sub Pop / By Jack Doherty
J Mascis - Tied to a Star There are two types of people in the world. The busy and the bored. The busy rush around their little lives, doing everything they need to do in order to escape the boredom. The bored meanwhile sit and wait for the busy to stop being busy, in the hope they'll join them in their boredom. A boredom shared is a boredom halved, or so they say. J Mascis is an anomaly. J Mascis is busy and bored, and boy does he want the world to know it.

When J isn't taming the fuzz with Dinosaur Jr he can be found banging the drums for Witch. When J isn't banging the drums for Witch he can be found pulling guitar shapes with The Fog. When J isn't pulling guitar shapes with The Fog he can be found jerking his guitar with Sweet Apple. When J isn't jerking his guitar with Sweet Apple he can be found tripping out with Heavy Blanket. When J isn't tripping out with Heavy Blanket he can be found tickling the strings of his acoustic, which is where we find him today.

Tied to a Star, his second stab at this solo business, sweeps us towards a sweet sweet lethargy, one strum at a time. Opener ‘Me Again’ attempts to prove that the fuzzfather doesn’t need his fuzz to shine. His distinctive drawl wraps itself surprisingly well around the acoustic guitar. It’s music for the garden. Music to enjoy with the grass on your back and the clouds in the sky.

However, the fuzz doesn’t stay away for long. ’Every Morning’ begins as strummy as Joe but quickly morphs into an effects pedal-hugging beast, taking us through the freakscene towards the stairway to heaven. As the record progress this begins to become a problem. Too many times does J feel the need to show off his guitar licks.He has always been one for the fretboard, but unlike his other projects, each solo on Tied to a Star stands out like a sore limb.

Only once are we given another dose of the good times. On ’Drifter’ the fuzz is nowhere to be seen, and the song is all the better for it. With it gone we can be taken to a new world, one full of hippies, Eastern rhythms and sweet psychedelia. After this final peak the record rather ironically drifts away into a premature nothingness. This should be disappointing, but when you think about it. There couldn’t be a more apt ending.

With Tied to a Star, Mr Mascis has crafted a selection of songs more chilled than his own soul. Is that a good thing or a bad thing? I’ll leave it to you. I’m too bored to write anything else.