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Record Review 

When J. Mascis disbanded Dinosaur Jr. -- the trio highly responsible for reintroducing the guitar lead to indie -- in the late '90s, it had already become his solo vehicle. In 2000, however, Mascis legitimately went solo with the Fog (a drifting cast of collaborators). The result, More Light, was essentially the best Dinosaur Jr. album in seven years.

Light had something to prove -- and it revitalized muscular wankery. But Free So Free, the sophomore Mascis + Fog release, is much more -- for lack of a better word -- free. Free from expectations, even somewhat free from familiarity. And while there's no reinventing the croaking comfort of Mascis' weathered vocals, his increasingly crisp, fluid fretwork is framed here in wider emotional arrangements.

"Freedom" hurtles choppily through wah-wah riffs. "If That's How It's Gotta Be" and "Someone Said" gently glide on open-ended acoustics. Wurlitzer chimes on "Everybody Lets Me Down"; synths bubble on "Tell the Truth" and "Outside." And the sludgy squeals of the plodding title track may be Mascis' most Neil Young-esque track to date.

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