It’s an improbable band reunion, that of J Mascis, Lou Barlow and Murph. The beauty of it is, far from sounding like an attempt at reaching former glories, it sounds like the band just picked up from where they left off in the late nineties. I Bet On Sky is their third album since reforming and it opens unexpectedly with swirling keyboards on Don’t Pretend You Didn’t Know. Despite this, Mascis’ drawled vocals and arsenal of guitars are present and correct.
The man is a real-life guitar hero, and he totally nails it on the exquisite guitar crunch of Watch The Corners. It’s a relatively straightforward song, but the guitars are majestic, carrying this and the rest of the album. Elsewhere Almost Fare and Stick A Toe In play to the sweeter side of the band, all the while accompanied by Mascis’ Neil Young style guitar playing.
Lou Barlow gets two songs here, both a little poppier than the other eight tracks, Rude is a no-holds-barred stomp, while Recognition has an almost early 60s feel to it.
I Know It Oh So Well is very raunchy for Dinosaur Jr, more akin to the Faces or even early 70s Rolling Stones. The blistering guitar of Pierce the Morning Rain is almost danceable, while the six-minute plus See It On Your Side will inspire the most Neil Young comparisons.
None of the songs outstay their welcome. The album is a prime slice of guitar riffing, as good as any of their albums, even the classic You’re Living All Over Me. A good excuse to rediscover this band.
1. Don’t Pretend You Didn’t Know
2. Watch The Corners
3. Almost Fare
4. Stick A Toe In
6. I Know It Oh So Well
7. Pierce The Morning Rain
8. What Was That
10. See It On Your Side