Solid 10th Album
Whenever I hear J Mascis' voice I am instantly transported back to the Summer of 1991, and the year I saw Dinosaur Jr. at the Reading Festival, glued to the front of the stage, totally riveted, the band within spitting distance, and I can't quite forget how excited I was to see them as my 17 year old self - this experience has forever marked how I listen to their records, making it inevitable that I will feel some kind of connection to whatever they put out.
It's a good thing then that this album gives me little room for rose tinted recollection as it's a really solid 10th album release from the band, the third since the original trio Mascis, Barlow and Murph reformed in 2005. The record is a slow and gentle affair for the most part - and while there are plenty of great melodies to be had it's more likely to have you swaying along than bouncing about. There is an almost bittersweet feel, not melancholic or downbeat as such but inducing an introspective, atmosphere (but then I am hit with that nostalgic undertone).
The first few track promise great things for the album - opener Don't Pretend You Didn't Know is a brilliant slice of melodic yet jagged and jangly indie-pop, that slightly abrasive guitar sound, tight as they come drums and Mascis' drowsy but sweetly broken vocals combine beautifully. Watch The Corners has a nice chunky set of riffs and a great vocal and the poppy base of Almost Fare is a great way to build in a classic guitar solo towards the end. There are however a few less immediate tracks to follow and a slight zone out moment does happen somewhere in the middle of the album. It doesn't last long though and they do pull things back with Pierce The Morning Rain and from there it's clear sailing until the end of the record. The masters of off kilter but sweet indie-rock are always reliable and this is another solid release from them.