Make no mistake -- the definitive article in the title of The Sebadoh is there for a reason. Where the group's previous albums frequently sounded like the work of a songwriters' collective, with each musician supporting each other on their individual songs, The Sebadoh was designed to be the work of a unified band. To the band's credit, Sebadoh achieves that goal. The Sebadoh sounds unlike any other of their records, largely due to the fact they (more or less) rehearsed and recorded these 15 songs as a band, giving their music a kinetic energy it has lacked in the past. It comes at the expense of their most charming quality: their intimacy. Often, listening to a Sebadoh record feels like eavesdropping, but here, the group is playing to the bleachers. Occasionally, that works -- Jason Loewenstein kicks off the record in grand style with "It's All You," and Lou Barlow's "Flame" turns the best of Folk Implosion inside out -- but it often sounds like posturing. Of course, that could be due to the fact that the songs simply aren't as strong as they have been in the past. The best of Loewenstein's material shows that he continues to improve, but he's still erratic; Barlow at times sounds immediate as ever, at other times sounding like a parody of himself; meanwhile, Bob Fay's replacement, Russ Pollard, offers one ineffectual number. Sebadoh has always been notoriously uneven, but their rough surfaces and loose ends ultimately made their records endearing and occasionally revelatory. Here, they've sanded down their rough edges and tied up their loose ends, which might make The Sebadoh the work of a unified band, but it ultimately makes for a record that is far less compelling than the average Sebadoh album.
AllMusic Review by Stephen Thomas Erlewine