Release Date: May 1, 2007
Record label: Fat Possum
Genre(s): Rock, Alternative
Beyond is very different in that for the first time, Mascis is assertive about his talent. He sounds engaged -- in music, in life (as he winkingly acknowledges on the chorus of the opening "Almost Ready," "C'mon life/I'm almost ready") -- and it gives the album a powerful sense of purpose that the classic Dinosaur albums were lacking by their very design. But Beyond isn't great simply because it's cohesive; it's great because it's as bold, vital, and monstrous as their best early work.
It’s been 20 years since Dinosaur Jr.’s innovative You’re Living All Over Me, a 34-minute blast of Neil Young-inspired guitar frenzy that blended punk with classic rock. Can this reunion album — the first since 1988 with original bassist Lou Barlow — live up to Living? Of course not. But it’s still worth hearing, with J Mascis’ guitar as blistering as ever and the group’s considerable energy undiminished.
Review Summary: The full lineup of Dinosaur Jr. is back after a full childhood's hiatus with no signs of age or tiredness.Dinosaur Jr.? More like Dinosaur Sr. Joe Mascis is 41 years old and Lou Barlow is 40. Ok, so they’re not the age of the Rolling Stones, but to make a comeback album together at this age, their first album together in 18 years, is simply monumental.
Michael Azerrad's fantastic history of pre-Nirvana US indie rock, Our Band Could Be Your Life, is a book packed with remarkable characters. There is the late D Boon, the Minutemen's pudgy, Risk-playing, Marxist guitarist, who looked like so unlike a rock star that bouncers would pull him offstage at his own shows, convinced he was an audience interloper. More striking still is Butthole Surfers frontman Gibby Haynes, who, at a Dutch festival, ingests a handful of LSD tabs, drinks a bottle of whisky and is later spotted, completely naked, repeatedly attempting to climb onstage during a performance by Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, receiving a kick in the testicles for his trouble.
What a blast from the past! It only takes a half second of guitar squall at the very onset of "Almost Ready" to transport you back into 1986 or thereabouts, if you've ever been there...or even if you've visited via the trio of old line-up Dinosaur Jr. records reissued by Merge a couple of years ago. The spiraling, distortion-drenched guitar solos, the cracked and ruined moan of Mascis, the passive-aggressive romanticism, the relentless beat, the pedals, the sheer turbulent volume...it's just like Where You Been? all over again, with all the positives and negatives that the comparison implies.
A rather ripped Van Winkle moment has arrived for Lou Barlow and company, who last recorded as Dinosaur Jr. in 1989. Even listeners too old to judge a 50-minute CD by its cover will find something enthralling in that figure on the couch being sucked under the cushions. The leadoff chorus from "Almost Ready" makes it clear that after years of wandering the desert, Dino Jr.