By this point, four records into their reunion, the question with new Dinosaur Jr isn’t, “Will it be good?” but rather, “Good or great?” And so far it’s always been great. When singer/guitarist J Mascis (QRO solo album review), singer/bassist Lou Barlow (QRO solo album review), and drummer Murph reunited over a decade ago behind the re-releases of their early records, it looked like a one-off cash-in, but then came first reunion record Beyond (QRO review), and the rest is ongoing history. Give a Glimpse of What Yer Not keeps up everything you want from Dinosaur Jr, from Mascis’ guitar wails to a few choice Barlow cuts.
Dinosaur Jr rise and fall (mostly rise) on their ability to marry alternative rock with the classic rock guitar shred, making them acceptable and indeed enjoyable to both audiences. On Glimpse this is maybe best on opener “Goin Down”, which manages to have accessible catch, classic grind, and alt-emotion. But there is also the sadder Dinosaur (“Be a Part”, “Mirror”), epic (“Good to Know”), and a few pieces from Barlow (“Love Is…” and “Left/Right”) that nicely give variety on the album, veering more towards his work in Sebadoh (QRO live review).
Dinosaur Jr could have stayed dormant in the twenty-first century and still have been regarded as a great American rock band, from their eighties punk scene days to nineties grunge breakthrough. This reunion hasn’t broken that much new ground, but rather filled in with more & more of What you want.