Words by Tina Summers
Here we are again. My old faithful friend Dinosaur Jr. brings us a new ear worm with ‘Sweep It Into Space.’ Their first album release since their 2016 album ‘Give a Glimpse of What Yer’ Not and 37 years since their inception. THIRTY SEVEN YEARS!!! What the?! I began the fall into the rabbit hole of Dinosaur Jr.’s music from their first album ‘Dinosaur’ in 1985 and have had my head blasted off several times live, so they hold a special place in the grunge fest that is my little black heart. Much to my joy they are still releasing music, Lou Barlow is back alongside old J Mascis and all is right with the world. And here I am reviewing this latest record. What a privilege. And just a side note I named one of my cats “Mascis” once upon a time in a galaxy far far away in history, so yeah, I might be just a bit of a fan.
Recorded at J Masics’ studio Bisquiteen, in Amherst Massachusetts , where recording began in 2019 after their tour of the West and South East Coast of the US, originally set for a 2020 release but due to plague related circumstances is to be released this week. As usual Lou Barlow contributes by writing and singing two of the songs on this album, one is the 5th track – Garden, which has a film clip tongue in cheek Jr. style. Have a looksee here Dinosaur Jr. – Garden (Official Video)
Murph keeps the backbone of the Dinosaur upright with his blasting drumbeat, solid as ever amongst the chaos state of guitar noise. Each song has a twist, but you know you are listening to Dinosaur Jr. there is no way of mistaking their signature sound, but even after nearly 40 years of creating, there is no boredom or flogging a dead horse. This horse has the healthiest stamina I have ever heard.
The first track – I Aint is a classic Dinosaur Jr. composition. With distorted solo and Mascis with his love torn vocals. Track two is more rock n roll, hence the title – I Met The Stones. (I wish!) Onto the third track – To Be Waiting, which is an awesome slower song, with fantastic guitar solo and jangling verses. The fourth song entitled I Ran Away, is the lead single from the album, which has a more country-esque style jangle, with the addition of Kurt Vile who co-produced the album and played the lead 12 string on this track. When recording with Kurt was interrupted Mascis stated he “ended up just mimicking a few things he’d done. I was listening to a lot of Thin Lizzy, so I was trying to get some of that duelling twin lead sound. But the recording session was pretty well finished by the time things really hit the fan. When the lockdown happened in March, that meant I was on my own. But it was cool.”
Lou Barlows contribution Garden is next in line, and just a sideline of appreciation if you have yet to check out Lou’s side project Sebadoh I recommend you give them a listen, particularly if you like Barlows vocals. The sixth track – Hide Another Round bouncy light weight and rocking – could you say its “pop” (?) and no one says “come around” like J Mascis. Insert drawl here. Onwards and upwards to the seventh track – And Me – with the perfect Dinosaur Jr. introduction and a great guitar solo with J singing about his love over the top with an abrupt distorted ending. YES A FAVE! Rocking into the eighth tune– I Expect It Always – another head blowing solo and turbo distorted ending. Ok now number nine was unexpected – keyboards sounding like a Tiki Bar band??? There ya go! Take It Back took me off on another tangent – but still rocking it with their own style. N Say is up next and back to a 4/4 guitar-based tune. There definitely is something unique about J Mascis’ vocals – you can’t mistake it’s him. Legs eleven and here we are with Walking To You – wailing whammy bar action & some great distortion effects, with a sucker punch solo. Another ripper! You think I would be sick of his guitar solos but no! The final slower track completes the dozen with Lou Barlows haunting vocals with You Wonder – there is a distinct difference but having this polarity of vocals and songwriting in the one band is a gift. Fuzzy solo with acoustic underlay is a gorgeous completion to this album. Grab it give it a listen – even for those diehard fans, I feel you will enjoy ‘Sweep It Into Space.’
‘Sweep It Into Space’ is set for release on the 23rd April 2021 – via Jagjaguwar – Pre Orders can be grabbed here
They begin a live tour on 1st May 2021 so if you happen to be in the US and are reading this get along to a show – gifts of live music are to be cherished. The list of shows are here – https://www.dinosaurjr.com/
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With thanks to Brace Yourself PR