Forming in 1984 out of a love of speed metal and soft, jangly guitar tunes, Dinosaur Jr. have been one of alt-rock’s most enduring and praised bands.
Releasing nine albums previous to I Bet On Sky, including 1987’s You’re Living All Over Me - often cited as one of alternative rock’s most important and influential albums, Dinosaur Jr. have gained a status of immortality and will be forever recognised as one of the greats. It might be because of this that I Bet On Sky is somewhat disappointing.
Opening with “Don’t Pretend You Didn’t Know”, the album starts with a whimper rather than a bang.
There is some energy in the song, but the synthesiser-string sounds and piano do little to fatten up what is a disappointingly thin mix, and the monotonous guitar solo at the end of the song drags on longer than it needs to.
The album’s first single “Watch The Corners” is more stimulating than the track before it but still doesn’t quite match the standard of the trio’s previous releases.
Fortunately the album does pick up on the fifth track, “Rude”, one of two songs on the album penned by bass player Lou Barlow.
While the four chord rock track isn’t breaking any new ground, the vocal delivery and motoring rhythm section is more energising than anything before it, and the squealing guitar solo is well placed.
Thankfully the rest of the record follows in this vein, and while it’s not an album that should be used to introduce someone to Dinosaur Jr., tracks like “I Know It Oh So Well”, “Rude” and album closer “See It On Your Side” make the album worthy of a listen for any long-term fans or any old alt-rock head.
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