Rolling Stone - 1/23/97, p.44Ranked #8
on Rolling Stone's list of the "Ten Best Albums" of 1996.
Rolling Stone - 9/5/96, p.603.5 Stars (out of 5)
- "...[Sebadoh's] best album to date....'Willing To Wait' is, hands down, [Lou Barlow's] finest (if unhappiest) hour....Edited down to just Barlow's songs and the best of [Jason] Loewenstein's, HARMACY would be a near-perfect album. As it is, it's merely wonderful..."
Spin - 9/96, p.1478 (out of 10)
- "...HARMACY finds Barlow and his bandmates still parked on relationship lane. And they would give everything they own just to have you back again....[Sebadoh] maintain their status as champions of the private moment..."
Q - 9/96, p.1204 Stars (out of 5)
- "...they cover the history of US indie pop...telling tales of teenage folly for the post-Generation X generation, with scenes played out in the bedrooms, through cable TV shows and on the skateboards of the new guitar pop fan."
Alternative Press - 10/96, p.1033 (out of 5)
- "...neurotically hooky indie rock, heart-soaked balladry..."
Option - 11-12/96, pp.128-129
"...a rich, hook-filled record that justifies much of their acclaim. HARMACY's 19 tunes run from thrashing rock to melodic indie pop, and are almost uniformly wonderful....Enjoyably loose without turning self-indulgent..."
Melody Maker - 8/17/96, p.48
Recommended - "...And say you actually wanted, on a what-the-hell kind of day, to Experience Sebadoh. What would you pick to start? Well, simple, this one. HARMACY, in brief, is what I shall wave triumphantly from now on..."
Musician - 9/96, p.86
"...HARMACY proves that a good melody conquers all....[Lou Barlow's] confident tunesmithing belies the hesitant introspection....Jason Lowenstein actually grabs a larger share of the writing credits...but it's Barlow's eight tunes that provide the dramatic weight..."
Village Voice (2/25/97) - Ranked #36
in the Village Voice's 1996 Pazz & Jop Critics' Poll.
NME (Magazine) - 12/21-28/96, pp.66-67Ranked #38
in NME's 1996 critics' poll.
NME (Magazine) - 8/17/96, p.526 (out of 10)
- "...ironically, Sebadoh have just made a very British album....it...starts off pretty stupendously, with a trio of songs...that can only be described as 'gorgeous'....The 19 tracks here are studded with quicksilver pop gems..."
Sebadoh: Lou Barlow (vocals, guitar, bass); Jason Loewenstein (vocals, guitar, bass, drums); Bob Fay (vocals, bass, drums).
Additional personnel: Mark Perretta (guitar, bass).
Engineers: Tim O'Heir, Eric Masunaga, Wally Gagel.
Personnel: Bob Fay (vocals, drums); Mark Perrettu, Jason Loewenstein, Lou Barlow (guitar).
Audio Mixers: Eric Masunaga; Tim O'Heir; Wally Gagel; Bryce Goggin.
Recording information: Fort Apache; Newbury Sound; Ossterville, MA; Q Division.
Photographers: Charles Peterson ; Jason Loewenstein.
These indie-rock pioneers generally adhere to two songwriting formulas--heartwrenching ballads of love lost, and punked-out guitar freakouts. They keep getting better at both. HARMACY is their first album since frontman Lou Barlow (he of many heartwrenching ballads) danced his way onto the airwaves with his other band, the Folk Implosion, and it's their most accessible album to date. If the airwaves are ready for Sebadoh themselves, then Sebadoh sound like they're ready, too.
With their ballads, Sebadoh are somehow able to write bona fide tearjerkers without seeming melodramatic. These songs are intensely personal tales delineating the fragilities that come with falling in love. The band plays exquisite and beautiful folk-rock, and the vocals are positively tragic. But Sebadoh also know how to have fun. On the other half of HARMACY, Sebadoh play rumbling, cacophonous rock songs. These are where the trio's playful lo-fi roots are most apparent. Songs like "Hillbilly II" and "I Smell A Rat" leave little distance between the Sebadoh of today and the experimental Sebadoh of several years ago.