US - Massachusetts - Full Moon 245 - 08/18/16
Give a Glimpse of What Yer Not
Give a Glimpse of What Yer Not is Dinosaur Jr.'s fourth album since the original line-up reunited in 2005, and their 11th since the band was formed back in 1984 in the small, sleepy
Amherst, Massachusetts. J Mascis, Lou Barlow and Murph. Influential indie/alternative rock legends. An iconic band. Veterans. Dinosaur Sr.
It has been four years since their last album, I Bet on Sky (Jagjaguwar, 2012), but the guys have been busy through the years since last time around: J has been touring his latest
album, the strong Tied to a Star (2014), which brought him to Oslo's Parkteatret venue last year. Lou launched a solo
album last year, the indeed fine Brace The Wave , and he's toured both as a solo artist as well as with his Sebadoh unit (who played a fine show at
Oslo's John Dee last August). Of Murph's whereabouts I do not know [well, Dinosaur Jr did some amazing live shows last year to celebrate the 30th anniversary of their eponymous debut album],
however, J has stated that Give a Glimpse of What Yer Not sees Murph at his best. Ever.
When asked, J has named his Dinosaur Jr favourite albums to be You're Living All Over Me (SST, 1987) and Hand It Over (Blanco Y Negro, 1997). The former was the bands second
album, back in their first phase. The latter was almost made as a 'solo album' by J (with My Bloody Valentine's Kevin Shields as an honorary member). Give a Glimpse... holds 11 songs
over some 46 minutes running time. Barlow has penned two songs (as he has been doing for the last three albums as well), Mascis the rest. And, yes, Dinosaur Jr. sounds as good as ever. They can never step wrong,
it seems. "Goin Down" kick-starts the album, followed by "Tiny", and we-re immediately taken into some trademark Dinosaur Jr. sound landscape. Trademark vocals, trademark guitar sound, guitar
riffs and guitar solos. Fuzzed and scruffy indie-rock fuzz-pop. Everything is still in the right place. Dinosaur Jr. have almost turned into an institutional band and proof of their importance
in the American rock underground is indeed present when official announcement videos for a new album feature appearances and recommendations by Henry Rollins, Lee Ranaldo (Sonic Youth), Kurt
Vile, and The National's Matt Berninger and Scott Devendorf. 'Are you with me? Are you with me when I'm gone? Are you with me?', J sings, and
I guess we are all with him: All the old fans, all new fans, all the 'rock celebs' - contemporary artists or newer ones. We are with you - all the time.
Barlow's "Love Is..." is a fine, calmer song (another break-up song) which could have worked fine on a Sebadoh album as well as on this album. J's "Good to Know" is another fine Mascis
composition, as it curls and swirls by. The opening riff of "I Walk for Miles" shows proof of J's old fascination for Black Sabbath, even though he never was a fan of Tony Iommi as a guitar
player. It was just the Sabbath sound that fascinated him, back when he was younger. It probably still does. The grey-long-haired Mascis (50), the curly-long-haired Barlow (50), and the
bald Murph (51) for sure are veterans, but they still write and record vital songs. Age 50 is no end, I tell you! Like Jagjaguwar, their label for the last three albums state:
'Dinosaur Jr. have given us bulldogs on skateboards. They've compiled all of J Mascis' solo shreds into a single glorious track. [...] The album is
a mighty return to some of the primitive jaggedness contained on the band's 1987 masterpiece You're Living All Over Me. ... The song craft and pop-nuance have improved over the decades,
but suddenly this band sounds younger than they did 15 years ago.' Yes, they do sound young. Like time has stood still. J pinpoints the feel in his songs with eminent, to-the-point
guitar solos, and with "Knocked Around" his voice are pitched and adjusted making at least me come to think of Neil Young. The relaxed "Mirror" is another fine gem of a song, lifting this
album above the regular rock album or indie rock album. Brilliant. The album closes with Barlow's "Left/Right", and, yes, Lou's songs differ from J's songs, yet they manage to form all the
songs to fit as a Dinosaur Jr. album. Now, when Barlow is happily married (with children), I guess his love songs are of the more positive sort. Giving in to love, with trust. '...and
slowly I caved / Let fear claim my fate / till you broke me down / Spoke to my heart'. He's not a man easy to please, make feel safe, or 'overwin' it seems. I am not sure if Give a Glimpse of What
Yer Not is better than their last album (maybe not), but it's a very strong and focused album which still ranks Dinosaur Jr. high up as a band you still should appreciate and listen to.
Over and over again.
Copyright © 2016 Oppøyen Jr.