Rolling Stone - p.1064 stars out of 5
-- "Barlow's new approach made for one of the best indie-rock albums in a year full of stellar ones -- and Sebadoh's greatest work."
Rolling Stone - 12/1/94, p.1263 Stars
- Good - "...Sebadoh are Lou Barlow's Velvet Underground, wrapping his confessions in fuzz, hiss and distortion and setting them alongside complementary songs by bandmates....Individual songs offer slightly different perspectives..."
Spin - p.80
"BAKESALE was the catchy, coherent 1994 breakthrough -- a missing link between Nick Drake and Sonic Youth."
Spin - 12/94, p.78Ranked #16
in Spin's list of the '20 Best Albums Of '94' - "...Sebadoh's cleanest, most pro recording to date..."
Spin - 9/94, p.136
Highly Recommended - "...a consistent, even professional pop-rock record....Like the young Elvis Costello, he flirts with emotional fascism twisting love-song cliches into clever negations..."
Q - 11/94, p.1244 Stars
- Excellent - "...The tone is conversational, the choice of words precise, yet natural. Sebadoh may have arrived at a potentially very popular midpoint between R.E.M. and Nirvana..."
Alternative Press - 10/94, p.95
"...Sebadoh continue their streak of winners on BAKESALE, an album brimming with edgy, off-kilter pop....It's that self-aware wink that keeps so much self-doubt from becoming grating....There's really not a bad song on here..."
Musician - 8/94, p.85
"...the overall effect is lightly, pleasantly numbing. Which is part of their appeal, one suspects..."
Village Voice (2/28/95) - Ranked #20
in the Village Voice's 1994 Pazz & Jop Critics Poll.
Mojo (Publisher) - 1/95, p.53
Included in Mojo's "25 Best Albums of 1994" - "...their most consistent long-player yet with brisk, riffing nuggets....Sebadoh are surely poised for greatness."
NME (Magazine) - 12/24/94, p.23Ranked #27
in NME's list of the 'Top 50 Albums Of 1994.'
NME (Magazine) - 8/27/94, p.39
"...Set alongside Barlow's fearless lyrics, quality control is no longer an issue for this band..."
Record Collector (magazine) - p.963 stars out of 5
-- "[E]asily their most accessible....There are certainly moments of aggressive clarity here..."
Sebadoh: Lou Barlow (vocals, guitar, organ); Jason Loewenstein (vocals, guitar, bass); Bob Fay (vocals, drums).
Additional personnel: Anne Slinn (vocals, organ); Eric Gaffney, Tara Jane O'Neil (drums).
Principally recorded at Fort Apache, Cambridge, Massachusetts.
Personnel: Lou Barlow (vocals, guitar); Anne Slinn (vocals, organ); Jason Loewenstein (vocals); Eric Gaffney, Tara Jane O'Neil, Bob Fay (drums).
Recording information: Chicago, IL; Fort Apache, Boston, MA.
Sebadoh started out as the hobby of two guys hanging out in a dorm room with a four-track cassette machine and some weed, but by 1994, Lou Barlow's side project had matured into a real rock band, and on Bakesale, they sounded more like one than ever before. With Eric Gaffney gone, the spotlight was firmly on Barlow and his songs, and he stepped out with some of his best work to date; the navel-gazing confessions of "Not a Friend" and "Dreams" were more articulate and deeply felt than his previous efforts, and there's an edgy grace in his melodies, while he brings some scrappy but committed rock & roll guitar bashing to "License to Confuse" and "Magnet's Coil." Bassist Jason Loewenstein's tunes aren't as strong overall as Barlow's, but they're effective in context, and their minor-key twists and turns complement his bandmate's work very well. And though Sebadoh had clearly learned a lot from their years of lo-fi woodshedding, on Bakesale they were working in genuine recording studios with functioning equipment, and instead of having to struggle to hear the songs through layers of aural murk, here Sebadoh burst forth from the speakers loud and clear. And this version of the band stood up well to scrutiny; Barlow, Loewenstein, and drummer Bob Fay may not have been the tightest band on earth, but they had the energy and the commitment to make these songs work, and the simple, direct, and emotionally naked sound of Bakesale served them well, and the album ranks with the most powerful and accessible music they would ever release. Bakesale confirmed that in both theory and execution, Sebadoh had matured into a great indie rock band, and if their obsession with doomed love and fractured self-worth still seemed adolescent, they had at very least grown from eighth graders to high school seniors, and that's a pretty big leap if you're willing to look back on it. ~ Mark Deming