Dinosaur Jr.’s new album Sweep It Into Space is out now via Jagjaguwar.
Sweep It Into Space is the twelfth studio album by the Amherst’s iconic alternative rock trio Dinosaur Jr. The band was formed in 1984, nearly 40 years ago, and to this day their music is a gift that keeps on giving.
A slightly bizarre thing happened two years ago on the Internet when one of their old songs suddenly topped the charts in Japan. It was ‘Over Your Shoulder’, the closing track from their 1994 album Without a Sound. Apparently an old, but extremely popular TV show originally aired during the early 2000s once used the song. Several events resurrected the interest for the show and ‘Over Your Shoulder’ caught the wave.
It was a nice illustration of the power their sound still has. Five years ago, when their album Give a Glimpse of What Yer Not came out, I wrote a review titled “The (un)bearable lightness of being a Dinosaur Jr. fan” and I stand behind those words. Since the band doesn’t bother much to say something new, I won’t either. Even after all those years they still have a way of making interesting rock music. They seem to do it with ease, modesty and simplicity that is apparent even in their music videos.
Just like on the last album and the one before that and the one before that… Lou Barlow wrote two songs: ‘Garden’ and ‘You Wonder.’ Even the arrangements of the songs on the records made since he reunited with the bend follow a familiar pattern. Lou’s first song is always in the middle of the album and the other near the end or the very last. Fans seem to enjoy them most. The reason could simply be that they’re different from what J Mascis usually serves: guitar-ridden noise rock and power pop tunes.
Barlow’s songs are wordier, slow-paced and cleverly placed after Mascis’ delightful jockrock blocks. Both break the album in a way that makes it seem more eclectic than it really is. This type of dynamic is not unusual for a trio and they keep demonstrating how it works. Lou Barlow recently announced his new solo album Reason to Live so there is more for those asking.
The only kind of new and also a matter-of-course move is the collaboration with Kurt Vile on this album. He became sort of a bore and a self-professed “one trick pony,” but found a way to keep himself busy. Dinosaur Jr. are a pony that sounds and looks old, but still has more than a few tricks.
Spinning their records over and over is not as boring as it might seem even when it’s hard to say where one album begins and the other ends. This isn’t their best record yet, but give it time and pick your highlights. We pick ‘I Met the Stones,’ ‘Garden’ and ‘Take It Back.’
Order Sweep It Into Space via Bandcamp.