Dinosaur Jr. Beyond (Fat Possum) Release date: May 1, 2007
J Mascis and Lou Barlow settle their long-running beef and record a damned solid Dinosaur Jr. album with original drummer Murph... for Fat Possum Records? In 2007? Yeah, right. Put down the crackpipe, junior. Oh, shit, it's true. Reality just done sucker-punched your desperately trying not to be skeptical correspondent.
Right from opener "Almost Ready"'s confident surge of patented, fuzz-toned Dino rock, ye olde Massachusetts power trio slam you back to their near-peak 1988-91 form. Beyond is not quite as explosive and sublime as Dinosaur and You're Living All Over Me, but it does recapture the mellow power and rugged hookiness of Bug and Green Mind. Mascis' voice has aged incredibly well, its East Coast Neil Youngian drawl as poignant as ever. Furthermore, his guitar prowess hasn't diminished a whit. He's still got that rococo whine and growl thing going—no need to mess with such a successful approach. Beyond's 11 songs (nine by J, two by Lou) are like revisiting old high-school friends who haven't changed much, but they didn't really need to change because they were already dependable, lovable lugs.
Most rock-band reunions are tragicomic farces, but with Beyond, Dinosaur Jr. restore some dignity and quality control to this (justifiably) much-scoffed-at practice.
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Dinosaur Jr. play The Troubadour May 11-13.