Chris Schulz is the deputy head of entertainment for the New Zealand Herald.

Album review: I Bet On Sky - Dinosaur Jr

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Dinosaur Jr. Photo / Supplied
Dinosaur Jr. Photo / Supplied

Listening to Dinosaur Jr is like being wrapped up in a giant grunge comfy blanket.

There's something reassuringly familiar about the Massachusetts-based trio's shoegazing alt-rock racket, which remains refreshingly untainted bycurrent musical trends.

Though it's unlikely they'll ever match their late 80s/early 90s output again, Dinosaur Jr are at their cruisy best on I Bet on Sky, their sun-kissed 10th album, third since regrouping in 2005 and the follow-up to 2009's raucous and abrasive Farm.

That new-found breezy attitude may have come from the notoriously prickly J. Mascis easing up on his excellent recent solo acoustic albums. But there's something sunny and carefree about the jaunty acoustics of Almost Fare and the simple riffs that run through What Was That that make I Bet on Sky effortlessly enjoyable.

Barlow's two additions, Rode and Recognition, take a few extra listens to come to terms with, but even they start making sense when nestled among mopey single Watch the Corners and the bruising fuzz of Pierce the Morning Rain.

And when a cowbell shows up on I Know It Oh So Well, you can't help but think that Dinosaur Jr might actually be - whisper it - enjoying themselves. For a band with such a fractious history, that's a grand achievement.

Stars: 4/5
Verdict: Alt-rock titans return for cruisy 10th album.
Click here to buy Dinosaur Jr.'s new album I Bet On Sky.


- NZ Herald

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