Dinosaur Jr - I Bet On Sky
It's been rather encouraging watching the re-emergence of J Mascis as something of a latter day creative force. Dinosaur Jr's ten year sabbatical between 1997's Hand It Over and 2007's Beyond proved to be a much-needed battery charge and his recent work (including a solo album that made TMF's albums of 2011 list) has been met with near-universal critical acclaim. I Bet On Sky continues that winning run. Some of Mascis' early 90s contemporaries should take heed.
IBOS undoubtedly has a lighter touch than the early DJ efforts; opener 'Don't Pretend You Didn't Know' even flirts with some choppy, quasi-funk guitars but when Mascis lets rip, as he does on the hair-shaking 'Pierce The Morning Rain' the years simply fall away. Forced to raise his game by his bandmate, Lou Barlow contributes two splendid new songs, 'Rude' and 'Recognition' which do everything you want from a Barlow tune. Once portrayed as the ultimate slacker band, IBOS proves Mascis and co. still care enough to craft solid, sometimes thrilling albums that will please long-timers and encourage newbies to seek out the back catalogue.