4 September, 2012 in Music Reviews
Dinosaur Jr offer more songs where Neil Young is gobbled up by hardcore punk. Just how we like our dinosaurs
his year has been something of a trip down memory lane for alternative rock. What with the reformation of grunge titans Soundgarden and the 20-year anniversaries of the release of Alice In Chains’ classic album Dirt and Nirvana’s legendary performance at Reading festival. It’s enough to pause and question whether we’re all being recorded in VHS. Well maybe not. Aged though these groups they may be they certainly are not Totally Extinct Dinosaurs. Hell, the oldest of the grunge-era survivors – now that Sonic Youth are on ‘indefinite hiatus’ – have just released an album!
I Bet On Sky is the 10th studio album by Dinosaur Jr. For those of you waiting eagerly for me to write that it’s a return to form, shame on you. I Bet On Sky is, rather, a continuation of the excellent music that Dinosaur Jr have made throughout their career. The opening guitar riff, pounding drums and warm bassline on Don’t Pretend You Didn’t Know is classic Dinosaur Jr, recalling the work found on their classic 1987 long player You’re Living All Over Me.
The remainder of I Bet On Sky is filled with typical Dinosaur Jr songs, with highlights including Pierce The Morning Rain, Recognition and closer See It On Your Side. What’s so wonderful about this album is not that it follows the same wondrous format of its predecessors, but that it sounds as fresh as them too.
Last year saw the 20 year anniversary of Nirvana’s Nevermind and with it came the DVD release of their 1991 performance at the Paramount theatre. Before treating the Paramount audience to a rousing performance of Breed, Kurt Cobain tells us that ‘We will patiently wait for the dinosaurs to die out. They will die, and then we will move into their homes’.
Though Cobain was making reference to music big wigs when he spoke of dinosaurs, it’s a fitting irony that alternative rock is now a relative musical dinosaur itself. More fitting still is that, in Dinosaur Jr, one of alternative rock’s totemic bands endures… and frankly, when they are still making music this good it’s hard to see when they will ‘die out’.
Verdict: There’s life in the old dinosaur yet