Apocalyptic drums crash right into the face of a buzzsaw synth whilst a minimalistic guitar twangs in the corner of the room. This is music for the future. This is music for the end of times. It’s a shock that a group of middle-aged blokes from New England could reinvent themselves so late into their career.
Of course, that first paragraph is a complete utter lie. Dinosaur Jr know exactly what they’re good at, and they’re not going to change for anyone. Not even you. Give a Glimpse of What Yer Not, the eleventh studio album by the Massachusetts fuzzsters, takes us way back to their late Eighties heyday. We’re talking riffs as fuzzy as a furry little thing and drums that demolish your eardrums after a night down the local sludgefest.
J Mascis has a knack of making his guitar ‘licks’ sound equally warm and sweaty. Opener ‘Goin Down’ demonstrates this perfectly. Sunny riffs are layered on top of sunny riffs, painting a picture of a lost day down at the skate park smoking some rather questionable funny cigarettes.
‘Tiny’ gallops along soon after, teasing the eardrums with what is perhaps the best song the group have released in a decade. It’s a bit like Nirvana doing the Vaselines, but without the indie posturing and bad accents. It’s Nineties music for the twenty-first century, which might sound awful, but it’s really really bloody not. We could all do with more noise in our lives, it helps you forget about all the real issues in this funny little world of ours.
There has always been a distinct whiff of Neil Young around the band, but never so much as on ‘Love is…’. This track really lets the whiff develop into a full grown stench. It’s a pleasant stench though. One that kinda smells like acoustic tales of lost love. And, rather peculiarly, medicine.
This smell doesn’t stay around for long though. The one-two knockout blow of ‘I Walk For Miles’ and ‘Love All Day’ sees to that. The former barely manages to contain Mascis’ monster riff, while the latter sees the group back to their grunge pop best. All the ingredients we’ve grown to love about the group are there. It’s pretty and loud and tuneful and anthemic and it will blow the metaphorical socks off all of this century’s fuzzy pretenders, that’s for sure.
At the back end of the record both Mascis and Lou Barlow ramp up the melancholy. ‘Mirrored’ is the sound of a band deflated, but not in a bad way, like a ball, but rather like a… like a… well something that would be pretty cool if it was deflated. A huge tiger shaped balloon maybe?
To be frank, it’s pretty much business as usual for Dinosaur Jr on Give A Glimpse Of What Yer Not, but when the formula works this well, what’s the point in switching it up? Love live the fuzz. That’s what I say.
8Jack Doherty's Score