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    Dinosaur Jr

    Beyond 7 ( 2007 )
    Almost Ready / Crumble / Pick Me Up / Back To Your Heart / This Is All I Came To Do / Been There All The Time / It's Me / We're Not Alone / I Got Lost / Lightning Bulb / What If I Knew

    It's funny all these bands reforming. Hilarious! All Saints died a death. Dinosaur Jr come back and sound like they did fifteen years ago. They don't quite sound 'Freak-Scene' wonderful, but the return of Lou Barlow will be the cause of much toasting and drinking and head-waving in certain parts. The like of 'This Is All I Came To Do' seems to indicate that indeed, the guys have never been away since the mid-nineties when they were last here. Well, when J Mascis was last around in any meaningful way, at least. It's a song where that guitar sound just rules. It's not much of a song to be honest, but his weary drawl and his guitar solo circa three minutes ten, just a short one, are almost worth cheering the reunion all on their own. It's been ten years since 'Hand It Over' and more years than that since Lou Barlow was in the band. To tell you the truth, I wanted more Lou Barlow input and expected more since that was the reason he left the band in the first place. Still, beggars can't be choosers so let's celebrate the two Lou Barlow songs whilst we are here. The first, 'Back To Your Heart' sounds all the world like a Sebadoh tune, not surprisingly. That's no bad thing though in my book. 'Lightning Bulb' is his second tune and it's murky. Boy is it murky, like 'Nevermind' never happened. Highlights then. What, not the Lou songs? No. After all that, no. J Mascis pens 'Crumble' you see, a song good enough to have been a highlight on 'Where You Been' of all things, because that's the album the song reminds me of. Guitar solo? Check. Mumbled, wearily effect delivery? Check. Minor key melodies? Check. 'We're Not Alone' is another softer tune, not acoustic or anything, but it's a strong enough song that it could withstand such treatment. Ah, it's good to have J Mascis back.

    Ah, it's good to have J Mascis back. It's like he never went away. Hmmm. Actually, i'd have liked a sense of time passing. I'd have liked the album to sound a little less comfortable with itself than it does. It's like everybody is behaving as best they can and being professional. We all know tension can provide a spark and it seems like if there were any tensions, they were kept outside the studio door. Sure, 'What If I Knew' sails away on a Mascis guitar solo special but is it enough? As fun as much of this return is, 'Lightning Bulb' and certain other songs here just aren't great material. The band sound good but where is the songwriting? It's a problem that Frank Black/Black Francis has recognised and which has stopped The Pixies from re-entering the studio. Sometimes, sound alone isn't enough. 'Almost Ready'? We want you ready! Thankfully, ready or not, this is a fine tune and a welcome reminder of why we ever liked Dinosaur Jr in the first place. Whilst it doesn't scale the finest heights of those first three Dinosaur Jr albums, it'll no doubt sound great and be a very welcome song when played live. So, this album offers nothing new, but then again, perhaps that's an unfair expectation? As it is, this is simply neither the best Dinosaur Jr album nor the worst. That's good enough I think for a comeback set provided these guys really are serious and want to be back for the long-haul. 'Almost Ready' may be Dinosaur Jr by numbers, but it sounds good to my ears.

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    Farm ( 2009 )
    Pieces / I Want You To Know / Ocean In The Way / Plans / Your Weather / Over It / Friends / Said The People / There's No Here / See You / I Don't Wanna Go There / Imagination Blind

    The original trio of singer-guitarist J Mascis, bassist Lou Barlow and drummer Murph reunite again for the follow-up to 'Beyond'. First though, an important consumer note from www.media.pias.com.

    Dear Dinosaur Jr fan,

    If you have recently bought the dinosaur jrs Farm album in a European shop, you should check the actual CD and see where the following details are placed.

    If the details LC07800 P.I.L.110CD 449.5110.020 are placed at the left of the CD onbody (the actually CD print), you have the right version.

    If the details LC07800 P.I.L.110CD 449.5110.020 are placed at the bottom of the CD onbody (the actually CD print), the soundquality of your CD isnt how it should be.

    Therefore you can return your CD to PIAS to receive a new correct version.

    I've got a digital MP3 version from my Napster subscription, so heaven knows what i'm listening to. I suspect they've used the 'faulty' CD for their source as everything is so very distorted. Then again, distortion was one of the original Dinosaur Jr trademarks, so i'm not going to overly fuss about it.

    Only two Lou Barlow compositions here, which will be an upset for Sebadoh fans such as myself, but they are two great songs and a welcome respite from J Mascis usual blend of weary vocals, pop melodies, enlongated guitar solos and treading water. For an album hailed by many, including 'Pitchfork' as something of a return to form, 'Farm' for the most part is style over substance. Anyway, 'Your Weather' is all fuzzy bass, Lou Barlow vocals and menace. 'Imagination Blind' is a dirge like stormer far truer to the original Dinosaur Jr vision that the poppy melodies of Mascis tunes such as 'Friends'. Mascis tunes to savour though include the fiery 'Pieces' and 'Over It', which sound apart, could have popped up on post Barlow highpoint 'Where You Been'. Overall then, 'Farm' is okay but a surfeit of tunes that tread water prevent this from matching those first three Dinosaur Jr classics or even albums such as the post Barlow 'Green Mind' or indeed the aforementioned 'Where You Been'.

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    this page last updated 27/09/09

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