Let’s face facts — in 2016 it is remarkable that there’s a new Dinosuar Jr album to go ape over. After all, the original line-up of the band (J Mascis, Lou Barlow & Murph) only recorded three full albums during their initial run in the 1980s. Everyone was gob-smacked when they reunited in 2005. Even more so when they opted to stay together, as they have for 11 years now (on and off). And with the release of Give a Glimpse Of What Yer Not, this trio redivisus has released more albums in the 21st Century than they did in the 20th. It’s enough to make a man take a long, thoughtful slug of maple-flavored bourbon and count some lucky stars.
The songs on Give a Glimpse were recorded over the past year or so, again at Amherst’s Bisquiteen Studio (located in a secret nook of J’s basement). The sound is great and roaring with J’s various bleeding-ear psychedelic guitar touches oozing their way into the smudge-pop modeling, while Murph’s drums pound like Fred Flintstone’s feet, and Lou’s bass weaves back and forth between proggy melodicism and post-core thug-hunch.
Of the 11 songs presented, nine are J’s. Mascis has had so many projects going at various times — from the retro glam of Sweet Apple to the metal dunt of Witch to the ostrich-rock overload of Heavy Blanket — it’s always a little shocking he can compartmentalize well enough to keep his tunes with Dinosaur Jr sounding so instantly recognizable. Which is not to say they’re interchangeable, it’s just that he has a very idiosyncratic way of structurally assembling and presenting the songs. Even when they’re not being played in concert (with amps turned to 12, and vibrating ’til they glow red).the way he hits his guitar strings has a unique quality that immediately lets you know you’re listening to Dino. It’s a very cool trick, and something only a small percentage of guitarists ever manage.