We can take so little for granted these days, and that is even more so the case in indie-rock. Kim Gordon & Thurston Moore split up; Yo La Tengo’s Maxwell’s is gone – even Arcade Fire went disco. But ever since their reunion a decade-and-a-half ago, Dinosaur Jr have been great. Each new album has delighted their long-time fans, whether those of their eighties punk origins or nineties alt-rock popular high, even the young’uns who found them this century/millennium, combining it all for exactly what you wanted, and more. This continues with Sweep It Into Space.
All the great hallmarks of a great Dinosaur Jr record are here. There are singer/guitarist J Mascis’ epic guitars that don’t get lost in being epic, and moving but understated vocals that have always been underappreciated. There’s the upbeat guitar adventure of “Hide Another Round”, but also the reaching single “I Ran Away” (QRO review), not to mention hopeful “And Me”. Singer/bassist Lou Barlow gets his licks in with his own lo-fi emotionalism on “Garden” and closer “You Wonder”. There are pure moments of guitar wail like “I Met the Stones”, but also sadder loss such as the following “To Be Waiting”.
Sweep It Into Space opens with “I Ain’t” and Mascis low-key pleading, “I ain’t good alone.” But Dinosaur Jr are good alone, wailing in your bedroom like you’re fifteen (even if you’re fifty). And they’re good with people, moshing for just the right amount of time like you’re fifteen (even if you’re fifty) – because the pit will be back, revived by Mascis’ ‘circle-wall of amps’, Barlow’s engaging bass, and drummer Murph’s hitting rhythm on their upcoming tour. Just when we need them most, Dinosaur Jr are back again, to be great again – again.