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coverpic flag US - Massachusetts - Full Moon 131 - 06/01/07

Dinosaur Jr.
Beyond
Fat Possum/PIAS

Christ this takes me back. Dinosaur Jr's Where You Been was one of the first albums I bought on CD as an acne-ridden teenager. Before I bought it I hadn't even heard the music, just heard the band talked about by cooler people at school. The cover looked pretty scary - a Munch-esque hitchhiker standing on a long dark road. It took me a while to get over how heavy it was, and J Mascis' voice was unlike anything I'd ever heard before, but I still reckon it's an excellent album. Along with Without A Sound, this period of Dinosaur Jr is the one that introduced me to the band, and is still my favourite.

At the time I didn't know the backstory, and I'm not an old Dinosaur/Sebadoh fan, so I can't even fill you in now... Suffice to say it sounds like a lot of bad feeling went down around the time Lou Barlow departed. However, with Beyond it feels like Dinosaur Jr should never really have been anything other than Mascis, Barlow and Murph, such is the triumphant, fist-pumping glory of this new release.

Like most Dinosaur albums, you've got the major-key anthems, the minor-key anthems, the more sparse country-esque tracks, and oodles of loosely spooling solos, glistening from Mascis's fingers. Awesome. It all sounds the same as ever, but this time you can listen in the knowledge that fifteen years have passed since Where You Been. And where have they been? It sounds like nowhere! Still the same great Dinosaur Jr sound - ear-bleeding country, to quote the name of their best of CD from a few years back.

I guess the big difference for me is hearing two Lou Barlow tracks amid the Mascis squall. They sit here perfectly, but with Lou's sweeter vocal, and predictably less soloing. "Lightning Bulb" in particular is ace.

This is prime Dinosaur Jr, and that's a wonderful thing.

Copyright © 2007 Tim Clarke e-mail address

You may also want to check out our Dinosaur Jr. articles/reviews: Give a Glimpse of What Yer Not, Melbourne Forum, Melbourne, AU, 12.7.07.

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