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label: PIAS
released: 04.30.07
our score: 4.5 out of 5.0

Get Beyond sheet music and guitar tab!

Dinosaur Jr. - Beyond
by: Jonathan Arber

Depending on who you ask Dinosaur Jr were either a bunch of also-rans that never lived up to their early promise, or one of the most influential rock bands of the late 80s/early 90s. They certainly seemed to take a turn away from the fuzzed-up, more experimental sound of their first two albums after J Mascis fired the remaining members and pretty much continued the band as a solo project. It’s a minor miracle that the three original members have got back together at all, such were the legendary levels of acrimony between the three. Some bands grow to hate each other, but these guys started out that way and got worse. But reform they have, first for a few tours and now for Beyond, an album that may not quite recapture their former glories, but provides an apt reminder of why Dinosaur Jr mattered in the first place.

Beyond basically serves as a retrospective of everything that made Dinosaur Jr great over their career, both pre and post the firings of Lou Barlow and Murph. Opener “Almost Ready” is classic Dinosaur Jr – literally - the razor sharp, squealing guitar line and crunchy distortion underneath sound like they could have come straight off Bug. Thankfully, the distortion levels remain high throughout most of the album, with a couple of slow numbers thrown in, and it makes you wonder if this is what a post-Bug album might have sounded like had Barlow not been so unceremoniously dismissed. There’s something comforting about hearing Mascis’ nasal whine and simple, plaintive lyrics over an actual pounding rock band again. Take “Been There All the Time”, where Masics’ continually unleashes flurries of guitar that it would take a heart to deny, while he intones ‘Is it all me?’ over and over. Lou Barlow even contributes a couple of songs – denser and more subdued than Mascis’ contributions – proof if any were needed that a reconciliation of sorts has finally been reached. The vast walls of noise that characterised their early work may have been lowered slightly, but this is still a triumphant return for Dinosaur Jr.


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