Soft sells

By FRANKLIN BRUNO  |  September 22, 2006

At times, the album sounded (and still sounds) like several solo projects shuffled into one, but when everybody pulled together, the results could be stunning: lead track “The Freed Pig” is among the indispensable songs of its day. Beneath Barlow’s ambivalent kiss-off to Mascis, there’s a sentiment anyone who’s ever felt complicit in his own betrayal should grasp: “Now you will be free/With no sick people tugging at your sleeve.” The new release’s extra disc includes an early four-track demo; as finally arranged by the band, the song comes out both sweet and bitter, pretty and rocking. The reissue’s liner notes show that this balance couldn’t last: Gaffney, who left soon after III, is pleased to thank the other members for playing in “my band.” But for a time, Sebadoh flourished by letting several creative voices combine — and even conflict — under a single name. The current crop of singer-songwriters could learn something from that crucial tension.

THE MOUNTAIN GOATS + CHRISTINE FELLOWS | Middle East downstairs, 480 Mass Ave, Cambridge | September 26 | 617.864.EAST

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