Harmacy is the only Sebdaoh record I’ve heard more than a few times and so it is the one I also think of when I listen to other records of theirs. It’s also particularly catchy compared to their earlier records, at least as far as I know, which can make it a little bit harder to get into their earlier records. Basically, it causes a bit of a barrier to entry with the older stuff.
That might be especially true with this record, the one immediately before Harmacy, because, if there’s one thing I get from listening to this one, it feels like this is significantly less lo fi than their earliest albums but also significantly less catchy than the subsequent album. Now, maybe that’s just because I’ve listened to Harmacy way too much and I’ve barely listened to this one; maybe the songs will reveal themselves to me in time. But, at least essentially, it feels like this is lacking in songs in comparison.
One of the things that does really appeal to me about this album, and all their albums that I’ve heard, is the push-pull between the songwriters. It’s something that is sometimes annoying in bands where the aesthetics are too different but there they really complement each other.
And I like the aesthetic well enough. And I must say that, though I acknowledge their early records were very important in the development of indie rock and the whole lo fi aesthetic, I do like the band better in this relatively more polished era. I think that is because, at the end of the day, they are not my favourite band and so I like their records with better songs than the ones where it’s more “Hey look what I recorded at home!” (And I acknowledge that this is sort of backwards, but that’s what happens when you come to a band backwards.)
PS This record has made me up my rating of Harmacy because I’ve finally realized how much I like it.