Sweep It Into Space
What a strange – brilliant – run it’s been for Dinosaur Jr and their three distinct careers. Get this. Three albums in the late 80s, noisy/beautiful, messy/ugly – wonderful. And if you didn’t hear them at the time you sure went back to them. Then in the 90s J carried the band as a glorified solo project, capitalised on that initial run and made some (more) great music. The “grunge” years – which ran through most of that decade and across four albums that all have merit. And then J (actually) went solo. Meanwhile drummer Murph had joined the Lemonheads and bassist Lou Barlow was also making solo albums but only after creating the bands Sebadoh and Folk Implosion.
The spirit of Dinosaur Jr was always in the air.
And then they reformed. Played a classic album in its entirety for a set of live gigs. And many of us figured that would be that.
But now, five albums into a reunion run that has lasted longer than either version of the band in its previous incarnations and with all three original members contributing vitally to the sound it is actually some remarkable to feat to just keep receiving quality items from this band.
Sweep It Into Space arrives with the near-gimmick of having a celebrity producer. But Kurt Vile a) does a great job and b) keeps mostly out of the way of a fun and fine set of songs from J and Lou.
There are some of the band’s most poppy moments (I Aint’, I Ran Away) and there are those near-metal buzzing riffs (Hide Another Round, To Be Waiting) and reminders of the indie-pop this group was raised one (And Me).
There are plenty of J’s trademark scribble-pattern solos and sometimes he sounds as wound up and in the eternal shred-jam moment as when he hides under his nom-de-plume Heavy Blanket (I Met The Stones) but there are other times when he’s never ever sounded more melodic (Garden).
Maybe that’s Vile’s great strength here as producer – bringing the melodic grace of this band to the fore. Previously they were so happy to hide deep inside the crunch but alongside 2012’s I Bet On Sky this stands as the most song-diverse of the Dino J records. And yet, of course and beautifully and as you’d always suspect, it just sounds so winningly like that same pack of awkward weirdos that made the music you loved when you were first learning that being an awkward weirdo was just a-o-fucking-kay.
I could write a whole lot more about this but instead I just want to keep playing it. It’s been on repeat-play for a couple of weeks already and I feel the need to play it many times most days. So much joy wrapped up in hearing this band when firing on all cylinders. And so much love for these reunion years, a gift that keeps on giving. And giving.