Apart from the ‘90s teenage alt rockers and hardcore fans, many still haven’t heard that much from Dinosaur Jr. And if you’re one of the non-music nerds, you may be slightly familiar with the 1994 song, ‘Feel The Pain’. If you’re still blank, it’s never too late to discover a band once they’re on their 10th studio album.
Respectably known for being highly influential in the alternative rock movement of the 1990s with their distinctive ‘high gain’ guitar distortion and soft grunge, Dinosaur Jr. have sustained their trademark sound.
I Bet On Sky is not a far cry from their first albums – frontman and sole continuous member, J. Mascis, is still strumming those thrashing choruses, plucking the catchy guitar solo melodies and singing with that unmistakable straining croak. Opening track, ‘Don’t Pretend You Didn’t Know’, hits you in the face with a fast-paced guitar strum burgeoning on ‘indie’ and a little synth, with Mascis’ lazy singing and hard-hitting drums from Murph. It all immediately takes you back to ripped Levi’s, dirty vans and flannel shirts.
Pop-grunge tracks ‘Don’t Pretend You Didn’t Know’, ‘Almost Fare’ and ‘Stick A Toe In It’ are the most mellow out the bunch; however Dinosaur Jr. also resurrect the good ol’ power chord mosh-pit potentials in ‘Watch The Corners’, ‘Pierce The Morning Rain’, and the aptly named ‘Rude’. Some ska-punk influence reveals itself in the intro of ‘I Know It Oh So Well’, somewhat directly echoing Goldfinger’s ‘99 Red Balloons’. Bassist, Lou Barlow, plays a more prominent melodic bass work on I Bet On Sky, retaining his jagged rhythmic edge for which he is known. If anything, this 10th studio album is a birthday card for the mature and improved Dinosaur Jr. marking their return.
The trio have succeeded where other reformed bands have failed; by ignoring all conformity to today’s taste and sticking to what they know best, Dinosaur Jr. present a well-rounded album proving experience prevails over experiment.