The thirteenth album from New England’s Dinosaur Jr. is another leg in the journey of alternate rock that never ceases to wind on.
In 1993 Dinosaur Jr. had a huge radio hit with “Out There” from the Where You Been album, but by then the band was already on its fifth album and the song was no surprise to the fans who knew them. I’ve always thought that this song opened the door for the Meat Puppets to have a big day with few months later with “Backwater.” Hmm. This early-to-mid 1990s period had a lot going on, a lot of flashes and bangs. The mainstream (whoever they are) caught a glimpse of bands like Dinosaur Jr. that loyal fans had known about for a long time. That was a good thing, but it was short lived. Pretty soon the road bent again and, while the mass of humanity might have globbed of in another direction, Dinosaur Jr. kept rolling.
The new album is the first in a few years. There are twelve tracks in the laid-back, easing in and easing on style that defines not only Dinosaur Jr. but the genre they helped to create. The signature voice and fuzzy guitar that has kept you coming back all these years is there for you now. I wonder what it would be like for someone to come across this band now for the first time and have to wrap their head around the idea that there are a dozen other albums to immerse themselves in, uncovering wonder after wonder. That has to be a good day.
My favorite songs are the up-tempo pieces, like “Hide Another Round” but I don’t skip ahead or shy away from the softer ones either. I wouldn’t throw stones at any of the band’s albums but I will say I like this new one as much as I liked Farm (2009), and that was a big one for me. Recommended.
Sweep It Into Space is out now. Check out the Dinosaur Jr. website for merch and music or the ever-reliable Bandcamp.