Published Aug 10, 2016With Give a Glimpse of What Yer Not, the fourth album recorded by Dinosaur Jr.'s reunited original line-up, the Amherst, MA trio have surpassed the output of their original, much heralded three-LP run. And for the fourth time in the current millennium, the trio have managed to push the boundaries of their sound without tarnishing their own legacy.
Of course, any pushing of "boundaries" in the world of Dino Jr. is relative; their core sound — squealing guitar, thrashing rhythm section and singer J. Mascis's laconic drawl — remain firmly intact, and any attempts to move forward would be characterized as baby steps for other bands.
Drummer Murph has called the record "poppier" and "radio-friendly," a head-scratching claim once you've actually listened to it. Such descriptors are more apt for the band's previous keyboard-infused effort, I Bet On Sky.
The record's genesis is its real aural calling card. Reportedly written in the studio with incredible speed (rhythm tracks were being recorded in one room while Mascis was penning new numbers next door), sonic flourishes are few and far between here — this is the work of a power trio, through and through. There's a sense of despair at play across these songs, and while Mascis's lyrics remain vague and obtuse, the word "alone" comes up often.
Then there's the case of Lou Barlow acoustic track "Love Is…," a perfectly fine song whose closest sonic equivalent is probably Hüsker Dü's "Never Talking to You Again." But to say that it sticks out is an understatement.
Nevertheless, Give a Glimpse of What Yer Not is another fine entry into Dinosaur Jr.'s ever-expanding catalogue. Whether or not the group are attracting new listeners with these releases is unclear, but they're certainly doing nothing to dissuade old ones. (Jagjaguwar)