It’s quite a feat when a band is a quarter century removed from its peak and comes back with an album that approximates what it accomplished during its salad days.
But Dinosaur Jr. has done just that with ‘I Bet On Sky,’ which dropped in September. The single, ‘Watch The Corners,’ which has landed alternative-rock play on satellite radio, is a laconic rocker, which is what vocalist-guitarist and one-time slacker poster child J. Mascis does best.
“We’ve tried as hard as we could (with this album,”) Mascis said.
The trio, which also includes bassist-vocalist Lou Barlow and drummer Murph, faired well. ‘Pierce the Morning Rain’ is a classic grand Dino number. Such tunes as ‘Rude’ and ‘Recognition’ are hard and heavy courtesy of Barlow.
“We still have that connection,” Barlow said. “The great thing is that we’re not just one of those bands that got back together for a tour and that’s it. We’re all in. We still do are other projects. I have Sebadoh but I’m devoted to making the best Dinosaur album that we can.”
When Dinosaur Jr. released ‘Bug’ in 1988, there wasn’t anything quite like it. Dinosaur Jr. alternated between delivering walls of heavy post-punk guitar noise and compelling folky-rock. The album was one of the most influential rock releases in a year, which featured a number of exceptional records, such as Sonic Youth’s ‘Daydream Nation,’ and ‘Jane’s Addiction’s ‘Nothing’s Shocking.’
People still want to hear ‘Bug,” Dinosaur Jr. bassist Lou Barlow said. “That’s something that hasn’t changed.”
Fans will hear cuts from ‘Bug,’ ‘I Bet On Sky’ and the rest of the group’s rich canon.
It’s not so surprising that the new album is solid. What is surprising is that Mascis, who kicked Barlow out of the group in 1989, gets along with his bandmates
“People change,” Mascis said. “It happens.”
Only a decade ago Barlow detailed how acrimonious his relationship with Mascis was in 2002.
“But we’re older now,” Barlow said. “People mature. I’m 46. He’s 47. But I will say that J. wasn’t the easiest guy to get along with. He’s mellowed with age. It’s easy to look back at the difficult times but we had a lot of great times back in the ’80s.”
Dinosaur Jr., which will perform Saturday at Union Transfer, has influenced a number of guitar-driven alt-rock bands.
“We did have an impact on some bands,” Barlow said. “But the big impact was on me. That’s why it’s been great to go back because Dinosaur taught me so much about writing songs and musical dynamics. I went another way after I left Dinosaur musically and now I’m back playing the way I used to play. It’s really cool. I went back to my strumming style. It’s something that I’m really comfortable with.”
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