Massachusetts alternative rockers Dinosaur Jr.‘s tenth album, ‘I Bet On Sky’, sees them continue to establish their well built up lo-fi, distorted songs on another great output. Opener ‘Don’t Pretend You Didn’t Know’ (which was also featured in Kerrang! Magazine’s top 250 songs of the year) also sees the band meld their distinctive fuzz and distorted rock, with the addition of a string section.
It’s a welcome addition to this track, making ‘I Bet On Sky’ feel so much more expansive and shows the band are willing to put these risks in their music so far into their career. A well played risk and if you want to get the best feel of the album, get this song listened to first.
Some of the tracks do add new ideas, such as the added pianos in ‘Stick A Toe In’ and the power chord full, punk sounding ‘Pierce The Morning Rain’. It adds an extra dimension to their sound, keeping the melodies fresh and keeping your full attention. Closer ‘See It On Your Side’ is the ideal way to end an album; epic sounding, heavy guitars, full bass line and grooving drums. It’s Dinosaur Jr. all over, but leaves the album on a significant high.
Despite all of this, the songs aren’t just basic alt-rock songs with distorted/fuzzy guitars and solid rhythms. It’s easy to see that a lot of effort has been put into building up the structure and lyrics in the songs, adding extra depth so not to bring a bland effect.
J Mascis is on particular strong form with his trademark feedback, high gain guitar solos, especially prominent on ‘Don’t Pretend You Didn’t Know’ and ‘Almost Fare’. His vocals are also as impressive as ever. It really appears as its own instrument, providing soaring melodies which flow in relation the track. Check out ‘Stuck A Toe In’ for a perfect example of this.
Bassist Lou Barlow and drummer Murph both show their signature trademarks through the album, complimenting J Mascis‘ guitar lines. Over recent efforts, he has played all the instruments, however as proven on this album, Dinosaur Jr. should be a band, not just a solo effort. They’re solid as a trio and hopefully they’re able to continue this in potential future releases.
This is a solid album to fall in their extensive uncatalogued. Dinosaur Jr. have once again proven they’re are the top of the alt rock genre.
Written by Kieron Chastney