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Dinosaur Jr - Beyond

Dinosaur Jr, Beyond

Review by Jack Foley

IndieLondon Rating: 4 out of 5

THE long-awaited new album from Dinosaur Jr – featuring the original line-up of J Mascis, Lou Barlow and Murph – finally makes its way into record shops and the verdict is all good for fans of the band.

Beyond is a glorious reminder of why Dinosaur Jr are considered to be one of the seminal bands in music history. Widely credited with melding the melodies of mainstream pop/rock with the heavier, more punk element of bands like The Stooges, the band redefined the alt-rock sound and paved the way for the likes of Nirvana to make such a splash.

But at the same time as providing evidence of this legacy, Beyond emerges as a terrific comeback album to boot – one that’s contemporary enough to appeal to new listeners as well as delivering the goods for the diehard loyalists.

It explodes into life with Almost Ready, a track so signature and anthemic that it could easily be taken from one of Three, Bug or You’re Living All Over Me. From there, it maintains a pretty consistent tone – mixing cracking guitar solos with the stoner style lyrics that has helped to inspire so many of their US contemporaries.

Crumble is dripping with the kind of melody that’s made for the summer sunshine, Pick Me Up is more hard-rocking and edgier, and Back To Your Heart – one of two Barlow numbers – rocks with a thicker guitar sound and a distinctly Sebadoh vibe.

Former single Been There All The Time is tailor-made for plenty of radio play (especially on US stations such as K-Roq) while We’re Not Alone delivers some triumphant melodies to emerge as one of the undisputed highlights. It’s playful guitar licks and sing-along chorus should guarantee its chances of becoming a firm live favourite whenever the band take things out on the road.

And there’s a lovely mellow vibe surrounding the track that follows it – the shimmering I Got Lost, a daydream of a record that even gives rise to Flaming Lips comparisons vocally. The strings add a particularly nice extra element.

If there’s a criticism, the Dinosaur Jr boys haven’t really done anything to shake up their sound, or to re-invent the genre on the second time of asking. But that was perhaps expecting a little too much. By embracing all of the elements that helped to make them so successful in the first place, J, Lou and Murph have triumphed in the best way possible.

Beyond is probably the album that fans have been praying for from the moment it was announced.

Download picks: We’re Not Alone, Crumble, Pick Me Up, Almost Ready, Been There All The Times, I Got Lost

Track listing:

  1. Almost Ready
  2. Crumble
  3. Pick Me Up
  4. Back To Your Heart
  5. This Is All I Came to Do
  6. Been There All The Time
  7. It’s Me
  8. We’re Not Alone
  9. I Got Lost
  10. Lightning Bulb
  11. What If I Knew…