Despite the possibility that the reunion of J Mascis, Murph and Lou Barlow would end in bloodshed—Barlow and Mascis’ mutual animosity when they parted ways in 1989 being well-documented—Dinosaur Jr.’s original lineup has instead put together an album that will gleefully destroy the hearing of listeners, who ought to be unable to resist setting the volume of Beyond’s chunky guitar rock below earsplitting levels.
Before Nirvana crossed to the mainstream, Dinosaur Jr. broke trail to the vale of post-punk alternative rock with overdrive-enhanced power chords and glottal vocal rumblings like those in abundance on Beyond. Two decades after those albums, Dinosaur Jr. sounds almost quaintly melodic, an insistence on flow and style apparent on tracks like “This Is All I Came To Do” and “Almost Ready” that still practically force a head to bang.
And, even then, there are exceptions. “I Got Lost” departs from the generally blistering pace of Beyond to serve up toms and strings alongside crooning vocals, an expansive and unhurried offering to Dinosaur Jr.’s raging return to rock ‘n’ roll. The crackle of a guitar amplifier wailing under devastating distortion at the beginning of the ensuing “Lightning Bulb,” however, is more representative of the whole: a present-tense throwback with the swagger due a trio of genre-defining musicians. (Jason Wiener)