Dinosaur Jr - Beyond - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

Dinosaur Jr - Beyond

by Rich Morris Rating: Release Date:

Since bassist Lou Barlow left Dinosaur Jr. in 1989, the band--whose last record was 1997's expansive Hand It Over--has largely become an alter-ego moniker for guitarist/vocalist J Mascis. But now the original trio (including drummer Emmett "Murph" Murphy) has reunited for the first time since Barlow's split, and the 11-song outcome makes one ask: Why did they wait so long? Mascis's thunderous "Almost Ready," featuring both his combustible guitar and weary vocals, is the perfect blast-off, allowing Murphy's backbeat to set a turbulent pace early, and while songs like "Been There All the Time" and the Neil Young accolade "This Is All I Came to Do" have Mascis as primed as ever, Barlow (whose '90s-era Sebadoh set the bar for lo-fi bands) reappears with two of the record's strongest tracks: the poppy "Lightning Bulb" and "Back to Your Heart," which recalls late-in-the-game Hüsker Dü. These 50 minutes of music are as cohesive as they are conquering, and whether the same can be said of the once-prickly relationship between Mascis and Barlow will ultimately decide if this is a one-off reunion or if the real Dinosaur Jr. is back for awhile. --Scott Holter

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