Dinosaur Jr. – Been There All The Time

Dinosaur Jr.One of the really good part’s of Simon Reynolds book, Rip It Up And Start Again, is towards the end. As it chronicles the rise of “post-punk” (all the interesting stuff that happened after the Sex Pistols broke up), he hits upon the underground scene in the US in the 80’s. It was a time cruelly neglected by tastemakers, despite throwing up some of the biggest names in music such as R.E.M., Pixies, Sonic Youth and Dinosaur Jr. All these band borrowed from music’s rich past, but all tweaked it slightly to make something new. Now Dinosaur Jr. have a new album out, more than 10 years since they recorded together and since guitarist/vocalist J. Mascis essentially used the Dinosaur name for what were essentially solo album.

The classic Dinosaur Jr. sound is there from the start on “Almost Ready”; blistering heavy guitar feedback, fuzzy bass and drummer Murph’s frantic but almost precise drumming, but the secret ingredient is still there. Whilst most underground bands in the 80’s binned guitar solos, Mascis reveled in them. His were furious stabs that were crystal clear over the massive slabs of noise that were the band’s signature sound. Of course, J sounds like he just got out of bed, but the energy here is still impressive.

Which makes the end of the album a strange one. Never mind putting the single “Been Here All The Time” half way through the album, but putting the radiant, feelgood “We’re Not Alone” near the end is a weird choice. After that it’s the acoustic, country sounding “I Got Lost” and the dark, goth-like “Lightning Bulb” with troubled bassist Lou Barlow taking the vocals. Beyond isn’t going to influence, countless bands for years to come, the group’s earlier albums You’re Living All Over Me and Bug already did that, but there’s a wee thrill in hearing a band long thought to be done, record something with such vigour.

Dinosaur Jr. – Been There All The Time:


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