2007 Catch-Up: Dinosaur Jr

I keep an ongoing list of all the current albums I want to write about, but what with the torrential outpouring of new stuff these days, there are always a few that I end up skipping. This week I’ll be covering a few of the notable albums I’ve missed blogging about so far this year, which is refreshing because I’ve had a few months to listen to them (longtime readers can vouch for my astounding ability – I don’t understand it either – to do complete 180s on albums multiple times within a two-week span) and can hopefully discuss them with a little more post-honeymoon sobriety than usual.

Up first: Dinosaur Jr’s surprisingly strong comeback, Beyond. Like an In-N-Out burger, the album is fresh and utterly satisfying – an indie-rock square meal. Some of the songs are a little faceless (Lou Barlow’s, mostly – J Mascis’ charisma extends to his guitar heroics and his weary vocals), but none are tracks you’d skip. And what highs: Mascis’ effortless guitar picking in the gentle “We’re Not Alone” is as welcome and natural as an old friend, and the fretwork and melody of “Crumble” are similarly immediate. I’m usually a ballad guy, but plenty of the heavier songs – this is Dino Jr we’re talking about, after all – hold their own. Take opener “Almost Ready”: storming out the gate, Mascis’ razor-sharp solos rampage through the chord changes while the band fights to keep up. “Almost?” Are you kidding me?

Dinosaur Jr – “Almost Ready”: mp3

(Beyond is out now on Fat Possum)


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