By the time Lou Barlow opens his mouth to sing, Sebadoh's 1993 single "Soul and Fire" has already conveyed a knotty bundle of conflicting emotions: They're all there in the aching, deliberately paced opening notes. From there, Barlow catalogs a relationship's combustible ingredients ("It's all a matter of soul and fire / infatuation and true desire") before documenting love's collapse and announcing, with unambiguous resignation, "I think our love is coming to an end."
"Soul and Fire" leads off one of Sebadoh's several near-masterpieces, 1993's Bubble & Scrape, which was just lovingly reissued with 15 bonus tracks. Like its successors, Bakesale and Harmacy, it's a sublimely messy gem that mixes awkwardly delicate beauty with jarring discord. Here's hoping that a new generation of fans discovers "Soul and Fire," digs deeper into Sebadoh's catalog, and reconsiders Barlow — who's also done great work as a solo artist, as well as in Dinosaur Jr and Folk Implosion — as a brooding rock genius who deserves to be coaxed back into the spotlight.
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