Lou Barlow | WIG153 | Released: 23/01/05
''I always felt that I was going to write like Hank Williams simple things," Lou recently told The Onion. "When I start to write a song, I have the words and I have the melody, and then it's just a matter of making it to the end. I think if I have something that I could identify as a talent, it would be that I can finish a song. I kind of know intuitively where the melody should go. But that's something that comes not from listening to other records, but from something that's just in me.''
Emoh is a lush, well-produced affair with eight tracks recorded with producers like Nashville's Mark Nevers (Lambchop), Josh Schwartz (not the guy who created The O.C.) and Wally Gagel (Boston's finest, Folk Implosion associate, and alumni of the Fort Apache studio/hit-factory) and six tracks impeccably recorded at home by Barlow himself. And not "in the bathroom with a cassette player" either. Though, as Lou admitted recently, "If we'd had Pro Tools when I was 21? With that kind of energy, and those kind of ideas just rushing at me? I could've made something that didn't have tape hiss on it, so people would think it was 'legitimate.' I would've made huge, sprawling masterpieces! I believe that. Because it was all about the energy. Certain Sentridoh stuff I did, I really worked on those things, but when I was working on them, I realised that in the end, because it was on four-track cassette, a large group of people weren't going to take it seriously. But that was all I had, you know?"
Leaving the lo-fi behind, Barlow takes his place as an indie rock elder-statesman and a modern day folk-rocker. The tunes are to the fore, with an upbeat swing. The lyrics are sharp, painfully honest (the jealousy-riven "Royalty", the self-doubt fuelled "If I Could") poignantly funny ("The Ballad of Daykitty" is an ode to Lou's many feline friends) and in the case of "Mary", downright sacrilegious ("Immaculate conception/Yeah right!").