I Bet on Sky
Dinosaur Jr., in any iteration, have never made a bad record. There were the great Dinosaur albums: Bug, Green Mind. And the not so good ones: Without a Sound. Therefore, to say that the band's post-2005 reunion efforts have been amongst their best is lofty praise. Their third such record continues this streak while throwing fans a bit of a curve. Chalk I Bet on Sky up as their most mellow offering and sonically diverse disc, taking cues from singer/guitarist J. Mascis's 2011 solo record, Several Shades of Why. It's a jarring shift, especially given the blistering power of 2009's Farm. But as Several Shades and bass player Lou Barlow's 2009 acoustic solo outing, Goodnight Unknown, have proven, scorching guitars and a thundering rhythm section aren't necessarily the only ingredients to a Dinosaur Jr. record. The mellotron on opener "Don't Pretend You Didn't Know" is a nice touch, anchoring the track and allowing Mascis to mess around at the top end of his guitar. "Watch the Corners" flips back into more traditional territory for the group and is a nice addition to their robust collection of singles, and the funky (for Dinosaur Jr.) "I Know it Oh So Well" offers up a guitar riff I Mother Earth spent their entire career searching for, but never found. Barlow offers a pair of contributions, with the sprightly "Rude" and "Recognition," a lean track with spikey guitar work from Mascis. I Bet on Sky isn't the immediate winner that Farm was, but it's emphasis on tunefulness versus smack-you-in-the-face noise makes for a surprising winner and a pleasant late career left turn that gets better with each listen.
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