Here we have album number 12 from the alternative rock stalwarts and the fifth since reuniting the much welcomed classic lineup of J Mascis, Murph and Lou Barlow. And for this reviewer their strongest release in this new era of the original band.
Although there are radio-friendly songs present, such as lead single ‘I Ran Away’. It’s the first two tracks on the record ‘I Ain’t’ and ‘I Met The Stones’ that give the listener a well-painted picture of the group as the loud rock entity they are in the flesh. Nicely finished off with third track ‘to be waiting’ which is quite surprising that this has not been utilised as a single considering it’s a Dinosaur Jr classic waiting in the wings. I imagine this will be on their setlists for years to come, up there with ‘start choppin’ and ‘freak scene’.
Midway through we get a number penned and sung by guitarist Lou Barlow, ‘Garden’. A very well-written track with a bit of an anthemic, radio-friendly, College Rock vibe, but unfortunately sounds a little out of place on this record. Certainly not as savage and pummelling as his Sebadoh output which I have always been a big fan of. In the end Barlow makes up for this on his second stab with the final song on the album ‘You Wonder’, with an overall more complex and interesting sound.
We get back on track with ‘Hide Another Round’ which is a bit, J Mascis, by numbers but still showcases the band and leads on nicely to ‘and me’ which is very reminiscent of J’s recent solo work Elastic Days. Even more so with ‘take it back’ where the overall makeup is almost like the band taking on classic Elton John but muddied up with their own beloved elements added to the end result.
On the whole, the album is a strong effort with a lot of familiar bits to please the die-hards and the deviations are more successful than not, complementing rather than challenging their classic sound. 35 years in with more than a few bumps in the road, seeing trends come and go and contemporaries fall by the wayside. The band is still here, sounding confident, competent and thankfully not tired and going through the motions.
Most reunions for rock fans have an all too recognisable sight of gritted teeth with a need to top up the bank balance rather than a genuine desire to play. Dinosaur Jr are still out there most years, playing mid-sized venues looking like they’re having a blast. Here is hoping this will be the case for many years to come.
Buy ‘Sweep It Into Space’ Here
Author: Dan Kasm
*This May, Dinosaur Jr. will play two socially distanced shows in the Northwest. Following, they’ll host their beloved Camp Fuzz and then kick off a North American tour later this year. Tickets for all dates are on sale here. Additionally, to celebrate the release of the album, Dinosaur Jr. will play a livestream performance from the Sinclair in Boston, MA on May 1st at 9pm EST. Tickets are available here, with upgrade options for exclusive merchandise and VIP Soundcheck Experience.*