Given their acrimonious split, it once seemed that Dinosaur Jr were the band that would never find enough common ground to reunite – so it’s an achievement to have reached the landmark of five albums since their 2005 reconciliation. Now in the full swing of its renaissance, there’s a sense that the Massachusetts trio are operating under the “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” adage, as it’s unlikely this album will engender a new generation of their trademark slacker/alt-rock sound.
Although produced by Kurt Vile (who also plays guitar on lead single I Ran Away), it’s clear J Mascis and his bandmates are tending their own well- ploughed furrow here, the one concession perhaps being a nod to the frontman’s love of Thin Lizzy, faintly audible on opening track I Ain’t. Otherwise, Mascis’s laconic stoner drawl dominates these fuzzy guitar numbers, which range from functional (N Say, I Expect It Always) to energetic (Hide Another Round, To Be Waiting, And Me).
Mascis’s fellow songwriter and sometime vocalist Lou Barlow contributes two tracks: the measured, melodic Garden and the beautifully understated You Wonder. Both are undoubtedly the standouts of the album, leaving the listener to ponder the possibility of more Barlow contributions making for an infinitely more dynamic and striking record.