Dinosaur Jr. | Beyond (Fat Possum)

cd_dinoThat now-classic sound is all over Beyond. The big, fuzzy riffs flow almost seamlessly from one song to the next and the not-quite whiney vocals sound just as good as ever.

 

 

 

 

I hate discussing records' relevance, but it must be done. It's temping to say good music is timeless, but in reality, that's not the case. What classic records don't sound dated today? That's not to say those classics aren't still good. If anything, the fact that they were a product of their times is a plus. It's what helps make them classic; they're time capsules that can't be imitated.

With their newest release, Beyond, Dinosaur Jr. prove that having a dated sound on a contemporary album is perfectly fine, if you invented the sound you're using.

This is the first record since 1989 with the original Dinosaur Jr. lineup of J Mascis, Lou Barlow, and Murph, and it sounds like it could have come out in 1991, when other bands were getting famous with the sound this group helped create.

That now-classic sound is all over Beyond. The big, fuzzy riffs flow almost seamlessly from one song to the next and the not-quite whiney vocals sound just as good as ever. It's hard to tell that it's been so long since the last release.

So Beyond sounds like the other Dinosaur Jr. records, which is good…but disappointing. It would be nice if the band took some risks. Of course, that could lead to a terrible project. In the grand scheme of rock 'n' roll, a reunion album is a pretty big risk in itself. Beyond doesn't feel like a reunion album though, which, like its familiar sound, is a strength and a weakness. Without the hype of a comeback, no one was expecting this Massachusetts trio to revive the late ’80s/early ’90s rock scene, so the pressure to fully deliver wasn't there. Instead, they just needed to keep the hardcore fans happy, which this album should do.

Benefits aside, Beyond's fairly unceremonious release only speaks to its lack of innovation. If the band releases another album like this, it'll look like they're only doing it out of boredom to make some extra money.

So, while it's unlikely that this album will be as influential as the band's first three, it'll still fit right in to the discography. New listeners may not be able to tell that almost two decades passed in between, and longtime fans don't have anything to complain about, so long as future releases expand on the established sound. B- | Gabe Bullard

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