Give A Glimpse of What Yer Not
Okay, there are a few bands that reform and end up in it together for a lot longer in the second stretch – Deep Purple, or Pixies as obvious examples. But neither of them can hold their heads high as getting even close to their original, vital material, and the shows are about some golden-ticket nostalgia with piss-breaks during the new songs.
Dinosaur Jr is that rare beast – has always been that rare beast (Well dur, it’s kinda right there in the name). But here the original trio has now been together longer in its second stint, though both Barlow and Mascis sneak off to do their other bands and solo albums (maybe that’s the key – no pressure) and with the release of this album they’ve now put out more albums in their second run. That’s certainly not the norm.
It’s worth remembering that Dinosaur Jr only made three albums together. Then the band became J Mascis’ solo project in all but name. And that’s – arguably – where the fame came from. His flag-flying for that earlier trio. Yes, we all fondly recall those 80s albums and if we didn’t hear them first time around we rushed back to them with the ravings of the hardcore fans in our ears; as squealy and excitable as a J Mascis guitar solo.
Give A Glimpse follows the very solid records Beyond (2007), Farm (2009) and 2012’s super-dynamic I Bet On Sky. That was the record that showed how comfortable Murph and J and Lou were in the skin of the old band, little hints of Sebadoh and Folk Implosion and J’s own solo recordings peeking in and around the obvious Dino J template.
That’s more than followed up with Give A Glimpse which goes against its title to entirely provide a glimpse of actually everything that Dinosaur Jr is and ever was!
Those paintball guitar solos are still so often the highlight. When J lets rip we’re lost inside the solo, the solo is lost inside the song, we all hover together up over yet still deeply inside the music. A huge highlight this time around is I Walk For Miles, which feels like one of the epic workouts from the grunge-years (Where You Been, Without A Sound, Hand It Over) but has just enough of a sniff of the energy and heart and soul of the original trio’s masterpiece, You’re Living All Over Me.
Toss in Beatles-y progressions – as on Lost All Day, or Barlow stepping up with Love Is…
Toss in Good To Know which has the band barking back at its Reality Bites-era scrap and squall or Tiny which sounds more like Husker Du than anything Bob Mould has attempted recently. That is, of course, until J adds the, well, Dinosaur stomp/stamp.
It’s rarer still that a band this far into their (second) career and discography makes something that is so utterly representative of all the strengths as to possibly be held aloft with that creaky title of “Best”. But that’s the case here – this could well be the finest Dinosaur Jr album, rare enough to say that this is the one you might recommend as a starter. Here – try this, work backward from there. The band’s catalogue some sort of bizarre, brilliant never-really-let-you-down palindrome.
Well, why not.