Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Class of 2012: Dinosaur Jr. - I Bet On Sky

When bands split up and then reunite years later, you have to question their motives.  It seems like a lot of bands get back together just to tour and make money.  Are the Pixies ever going to record a new album?  Who knows?

Dinosaur Jr., however, are clearly concerned with putting out new music - both songs and albums that are on par with their classics.  Since the reunion, the band has released Beyond, Farm, and now I Bet On Sky.

The new album doesn't stray from the standard Dinosaur Jr. formula, but it has a rather mellow vibe compared to the last two records.  Could this be a result or even a continuation of last year's brilliant J Mascis solo album Several Shades Of Why?

In any case,  I Bet On Sky begins with "Don't Pretend You Didn't Know," with its subtle synth-y background followed by its piano toward the end.  You'll also hear keys during the chorus on the slower "Stick A Toe In."  "Watch The Corners" starts with an old Dinosaur Jr. feel which then turns into a Green Mind-era sound.

Of the ten tracks, Lou Barlow contributes two.  "Rude" didn't immediately grab me, but it's gotten better and catchier with each listen.  The first few seconds of "Recognition" bring to mind "London Calling," but the rest of the song sounds like a Barlow original.

The most classic-sounding Dinosaur Jr. song on the album is "Pierce The Morning Rain."  It's part of a very strong second half of I Bet On Sky

After hearing the first nine songs, you may notice that there hasn't been enough Mascis guitar solos.  Fortunately, album closer "See It On Your Side" remedies that problem.  This track features the best guitar work on the record.

J Mascis, Lou Barlow, and Murph have done it again.  While they may have slowed things down a little on I Bet On Sky, let's hope that Dinosaur Jr. has more new music left in them.

Grade: B+  (89.3%)

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