"When I first heard Harmacy, the opening track shocked me with its incredible beauty. Lou Barlow has written many beautiful songs, but "On Fire" tops them all. And the tracks which follow are the same kind of mix of power and beauty which I thought Sebadoh had perfected on Bakesale. But they surpass Bakesale on this one. Buy this album--if you like beautiful and powerful rock, you will not be disappointed. I also have to mention that one critic said they listened to this album over and over again and "didn't get it." If you believe as I do that there isn't anything profound or important to "get" about an album, and the experience of incredible music you want to listen to over and over again is all you want, buy this album."
Different sound, same songwriting
Paul Kath | Canada | 06/21/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"After the semi-success of Folk Implosion in 1995 with the song Natural One. Fans were eagerly waiting to see what Lou Barlow would do next. The result is this.Harmacy is a total indie sound. No more low-fi, no more Eric. We're in the NORMAL stage now. With songs like On Fire, Willing to Wait, Beauty of the Ride and Open Ended making this seem more like an almost different band but the songwriting is still there as is the hard rock/punky songs to fill in for these more pop sounding songs. The harder songs are actually the better ones, but something comes to mind. Without Eric writing these, they sound disturbingly close to Mudhoney or Nirvana especially Crystal Gypsy and Love to Fight which have the grungy guitar sounds and the Mark Arm-like signing. Then there's Can't give up, Worst thing and Nothing like you which sound like Nirvana-esque tunes. Can't give up actually reminds me of Pearl Jam a bit in some cases. A few instrumentals on here also, Weed against Speed (I'd take speed), Szforando! (don't quite get it) and Hillbilly II (hilarious Mudhoney-type song) which make for some jammin songs with no signing. The whole album is worth listining too if you're a new fan to Sebadoh (This was the first I got from Lou) the sound is there and so is the soungwriting but it does lose a star for the lack of ANGER. The past albums had more emotion and anger to fill the void of these depressing love songs goen wrong. And without Eric there, I think half the anger is gone (if you don't believe me, then listen too "As the world dies from Sebadoh III). But still Sebadoh snowballs as you progress into their catalouge of music.What's next after this? Try the Freed Weed or Bakesale if you're a new fan.I highly recommend this awesome piece of indie rock."
daibhidh | Chicago, IL USA | 05/27/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I have a curse--any band I like either breaks up, folds, or has a member die in it. For a long time, I figured Sebadoh would be immune from this curse, but it appears they may at last have succumbed. If you've never heard of this trio, then get this album to see why I would mourn their passing.Fittingly, there are really three styles apparent in this album, alternating between songs: basic, quirky, almost folksy tunes ("On Fire" - the lead track, which will stick in your head on the first listen--my favorite tune on the album), "Ocean", "Willing to Wait", "Too Pure", "Perfect Way", "Open Ended", and "Weed Against Speed". The majority of these are Lou Barlow's work, and they're full of soulful brooding.Secondly, there are college alternarock-style songs: "Prince-S", "Beauty of the Ride", "Mindreader" and "Can't Give Up" (hints of Pearl Jam), "Sforzande!", "Zone Doubt", and "Worst Thing" (hints of the Pixies or Nirvana). When I say "hints of", I think the better known bands were more likely influenced by Sebadoh, and not the other way around. Finally, there are stripped-down, crunchy, punky/grungy tunes in "Nothing Like You" (hints of Sonic Youth), "Crystal Gypsy", "Hillbilly II", "Love to Fight", and "I Smell a Rat".These different styles might be jarring to a casual listener, trying to figure out what the heck Sebadoh's about. but that's what makes them so cool. When "alternative" became mainstream, it was nice to hear Sebadoh avoiding being pigeonholed and doing what they wanted."
neotek | in the aeroplane over the sea | 10/31/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Of all Sebadoh's albums, this is the one that I found hard to leave behind. Bubble and Scrape is probably the most indicative of Sebadoh's style, but Harmacy is chokeful of heart stringing songs, the ones that make you wish you did not have that breakup, the ones that make you wanted to go back and listen to with your head between the speaker, post-breakdown. While most of their contemporaries have gone down extra-weird, split or gone into some uncharted territorries, Sebadoh's up there in the place they know best. We're not worthy, Lou!."