In certain genres or music scenes, there’s always that one iconic figure. A band who’s provided us with a lot of classic hits during their career, a group so influential that they’ve spawned other band’s to follow in their footsteps. Dinosaur Jr. is one such figure for the indie and alt-rock community, and it’s a delight to know that their new releases are still as strong and reliable through all these years. The band graces us yet again in 2021 with a melodically rich and bright offering in Sweep It Into Space.
This would be their 12th studio album overall and their fifth one post-reunion. Even though its production was delayed due to the pandemic, Dinosaur Jr. Still manages to offer a consistent 9-track with punk laden tunes and hummable guitars. All while featuring a good balance between noisy and breezy sonic textures.
What I really like about this album is how relaxed and mature the band’s music has become. The wisdom of age and a long-storied career always adds an interesting contrast to bands with relatively juvenile and carefree roots in punk and hardcore. Opener “Ain’t It” starts with an admission that “I ain’t good alone” over sun-drenched distortion and sobering harmonies. It’s a humble sentiment to a loved one or a collaborator, a refreshing start with a lot of sincerity and charm.
Follow up track “I Met the Stones” shifts into trippy imagery, with soaring classic rock riffs and chunky power-pop melodies. A distillation of everything that makes alt-rock great from the first ones who have ever done it.
Elsewhere in “I Ran Away”, Dinosaur Jr goes into folky territory. With acoustic guitars and a bouncy progression, this song feels like a nostalgic road trip through the country roads. It’s like watching the scenery go by through the window, sparking memories of fear and regret while being hopeful and content with where you are. Same can be felt in “Garden”, which is the most beautiful track on the record. The lush strings and strong wave of emotions this song provides makes it worth the time spent in this album alone.
On the second half of the record, the electrifying fuzz of “Hide Another Round” pulls the curtains slightly back to the roots of Dinosaur Jr. while closing track “You Wonder” combines the band’s grit with lots of introspection, making for a very captivating end.
Sweep It Into Space delivers what makes Dinosaur Jr. great. Sticking to the basics while touching on plenty of moods and styles. A fantastic 12th offering and a treat to fans both old and new.