Dinosaur Jr. - Beyond
Record Label: Fat Possum Records
Release Date: May 1st, 2007
Dinosaur Jr. Never heard of them? Well, you should have. They've been around since 1985 and still kicking strong. The last time this Amherst, Massachusetts trio released an LP, I was only 7 years old. Yeah, I know I know, not too long ago, right? Well, for a band this good..there should not be a 10 year gap in between albums. Now, what is so special about this album? Well, it's the band's first album since 1988's Bug to feature the original lineup of musicians (Mike Johnson provided the bass playing on all of the band's releases in the 90's, but left the band shortly after their last album). The original lineup, consisting of Joseph "J" Mascis on vocals/guitars, Lou Barlow on the bass, and former Lemonheads drummer Emmet "Murph" Murphy behind the kit, they release Beyond, their eighth full length studio album.
As soon as I heard the first song on the album, Almost Ready, I knew I was in store for good things. The grungy sound they've put together instantly drew me in. Just like the other grunge bands of the 90's, such as Nirvana and Pearl Jam, Mascis uses high feedback and distortion to bring a unique sound to his playing. I listened to Almost Ready three times in a row when I first put the album on just to listen to Mascis' guitar work over and over. Crumble is the second song on the album. A much slower tune, it sort of reminds me of the song Keep the Glove off of their 1988 album Bug. Next, Pick Me Up begins where Almost Ready left off. More grungy guitar work and more excellent music. This is All I Came To Do is one of the songs on the album that would certainly make a good single. With a catchy, melodic sound and a steady drumbeat, you'll be repeating the chorus in your head for days.
The first half of the album rounds out with Been There All the Time, which is my favorite song on the entire album. Using the stop and go method of guitar/drum playing, it's one of the faster and catchier songs on the whole album. As soon as I heard this track, I fell in love. So far, this year, it's my favorite song that I have heard. A consummate follow up act, It's Me is one of the songs on Beyond where Murph is able to manifest his wonderful drum skills. Badumpa da cha! Ok, that was lame..I'm sorry. The second half of Beyond is the complete opposite of the first half. Starting out with We're Not Alone, a slow and mellow tune which is settling to the ears, the album changes directions. Can a song get any slower? I Got Lost is one of the songs on this album which I can label beautiful. J Mascis doesn't have the greatest voice for an acoustic ballad, but it sure sounded damn good on this one.
The final two tracks on the album sum up what I would call one of the best albums this year. Lightning Bulb, an eerie sounding tune, and What if I Knew, another steady guitar anthem, complete a J Mascis masterpiece, one that will remembered for years to come. Personally, this is my favorite Dinosaur Jr. album. I like it even better than Green Mind, which was my previous favorite album by the band. Producer John Agnello must be happy with this release, because I'm sure a lot of the fans are. It's been ten years since the band's last album, but a shocking 19 years since this trio's last collaboration. After 22 straight years of wonderful rock music, these forty something rockers are still going strong. Beyond is the album that will add the much needed fuel to the smoldering fire that is excellent rock music.
Dinosaur Jr. is:
J Mascis - Vocals, Guitars
Lou Barlow - Bass
Murph - Drums