Monday, September 17, 2012

Dinosaur Jr: "I Bet On Sky" (album review)

When you look up 'guitar god' in the fictional indie rock dictionary the picture would undoubtedly be that of a shaggy J Mascis.  On September 18th he returns with Dinosaur Jr (including Lou Barlow) with the band's tenth studio album I Bet On Sky.

If you think you know what to expect from a Dino Jr record, think again.  I Bet On Sky may very well feature the band's most varied sound to date.  The record swings wildly from the upbeat, shiny rhythms of "Don't Pretend You Didn't Know" to the delightful country-infused jangle of "Rude".

Notorious for his laboured, almost painful vocals, Mascis polishes up really nicely on the hooky "Almost Fare", being as melodic as he can be.

That's not to say that Dino Jr have gone soft.  The lead single "Watch the Corners" boasts a thunderous bottom end.  "Pierce the Morning" is a similarly heavy hard rock number.

By the end of the album the band has pretty much run out of steam.  Tracks like "Recognition" and "What Was It" aren't particularly noteworthy, while "See It On Your Side" and "Stick a Toe In It" are typical sprawling numbers that we are accustomed to hearing from Dinosaur Jr.  Of course, the band has been around for nearly thirty years, so stamina becomes an issue with age...or so I'm told.

Dinosaur Jr is one of those bands that could probably get away with making the same type of music over and over and over again.  However, it's refreshing to hear the group push things in a different direction.

Dinosaur Jr play Lee's Palace in Toronto on September 24th, 25th, and 26th.

Best tracks: "Watch the Corners", "Rude"

Track listing for Dinosaur Jr:
  • Don't Pretend You Didn't Know
  • Watch the Corners
  • Almost Fare
  • Stick a Toe In
  • Rude
  • I Know It Oh So Well
  • Pierce the Morning Rain
  • What Was That
  • Recognition
  • See It On Your Side

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