Dinosaur Jr

Dinosaur Jr – Give a Glimpse of What Yer Not (Jagjaguwar)

Despite recording the all-time definitive slacker anthem (1988’s classic ‘Freak Scene’), Dinosaur Jr have surprisingly become the most prolific and dependable of all the alumni of that incredible late 80s noise explosion. Prolific, in that Give a Glimpse of What Yer Not is their 11th album, and their 4th since reforming the original lineup in 2006; dependable, in that it delivers everything you want and need from a Dinosaur Jr album.

Predictable it may be, but when the band are on this sort of form, distilling all that’s wonderful about them into 45 breathless minutes, who gives a shit? They have honed their craft (almost certainly by accident rather than design) to the point where there are now three essential types of Dinosaur Jr song. There are the grunge ones, snapshots from the early 90s like blistering opener ‘Goin’ Down’ or the aching, riffmungous ‘I Walk for Miles’. There are the punk-pop ones, with recent single ‘Tiny’ in particular right up there with ‘Start Choppin’’ and ‘I Don’t Think So’ as one of the most irresistibly joyous tunes of their career.

And there’s a third type, the one that dominates Give a Glimpse… – the parched, dusty, Americana/alt country ones, the ones that anyone else who couldn’t toss out grin-inducing guitar pop like ‘Tiny’ would build a career on. Mascis, with his long hair and skateboarding, may sometimes seem permanently stuck in his slacker 20s, but the aching ‘Be a Part’ and ‘Lost All Day’ (“Oh baby…what went wrong with you & me?”) suggest that he is entering his 50s with good grace. But it’s Lou Barlow who really bosses the grown-up Dinosaur, and whose ‘Love Is…’ takes the album to another level – a gorgeously romantic, yearning hug of a song that sounds like some great lost 1970s radio hit, with a never-to-be-forgotten chorus – “Love is the law…let it fall on you, let it pin you down, ‘til you tell the truth.” It’s stunning, and is the band’s most moving moment since ‘Get Me’.

And did I mention the solos? Do I need to mention the solos? Suffice to say Mascis, the acceptable face of axe twiddling, effortlessly spits out those brilliant instrumental firestorms, virtuoso but never “look at me” showy, throughout a record which comfortably sits alongside, and may even surpass, their best work. Let it fall on you, let it pin you down.

God is in the TV is an online music and culture fanzine founded in Cardiff by the editor Bill Cummings in 2003. GIITTV Bill has developed the site with the aid of a team of sub-editors and writers from across Britain, covering a wide range of music from unsigned and independent artists to major releases.