Far too often, a reunited band stays too long and shits on
the legacy it created. Not Dinosaur Jr.
Since mending fences in 2005, the original lineup (J Mascis, Lou Barlow and
Murph) has recorded three quality albums, with the new I Bet on Sky being the best yet.
It is the group’s strongest, most challenging and most cohesive offering
Sky is an album built around layers and layers of soundscapes
that, with repeated listens, the subtle textures and waves become
apparent. There is everything that a
longtime Dino fan would come to expect from their weirdo heroes: heavy guitar
riffage, J’s bullfrog croak vocals and sickeningly sweet, spaced out grooves. Barlow provides great bass lines and
background vocals while Murph coaxes power from his drums that has not
diminished with age or time.
This record is not a J Mascis record with the Dinosaur Jr
name slapped on it. No, it is a
undeniably wholly Jr effort; the players have embraced what made Dinosaur Jr so
musically successful; all three members are experts at what they do and the
intertwining of heaviness with a poppy mellowness. Most notably on “Almost Fare,” “Don’t Pretend
You Don’t Know” and the album’s best and catchiest track, “Rude,” the tracks
here make for an exceptional record.
The gawky awkwardness that continually peppered the now
“classic” Dinosaur Jr records like Farm is still there with Sky, lurking just
below the surface. There are moments of
doubt and nervousness, especially on “Watch The Corners,” that tells their fans
that no matter how legendary they become, J, Lou and Murph will forever be the
music nerds that recorded Bug and who
couldn’t talk to girls. Sometimes great
things come from the awkward and I Bet on
Sky is definitely one of them.
DOWNLOAD: “Rude,” “Stick a Toe In” DANNY R. PHILLIPS