Album review: Dinosaur Jr. – Sweep It Into Space

U.S. alt.rock fuzzlords Dinosaur Jr. strike again with yet more elegant noise on Sweep It Into Space

Album review: Dinosaur Jr. – Sweep It Into Space
James Hickie

How long is a second wind supposed to last? Ask Dinosaur Jr.: 16 years on from their second coming, that hurricane of sound is still blowing strong and showing little sign of running out of puff. Like its predecessor, 2016’s Give A Glimpse Of What Yer Not, Sweep It Into Space presents all the ingredients we’ve come to expect – heavy but hummable guitars, J Mascis’ pinched vocals – but with even more honeyed morsels amidst the noise.

This album was co-produced by singer-songwriter Kurt Vile, whose own airy, atmospheric compositions suggest he’s taken some cues from Dinosaur Jr. over the years, much like any alt.rocker with a desire to do more with a guitar than simply strum it. As a result, proceedings are affectionately framed and leave listeners in no doubt as to who’s delivering the tunes. There’s a greater degree of refinement and balance, though, with Hide Another Round and I Expect It Always possessing a breeziness that stops the combustion engine instruments from overheating. Meanwhile, the glorious Garden provides bassist Lou Barlow with one of his finest lead vocals to date.

Sweep It Into Space isn’t without lesser moments, though, even if they’re only short-lived. So while the dips into laid-back territory come perilously close to lethargy on the plinking Take It Back, it still manages a latter half upswing that gets things back onside. And there’s nothing on here quite as catchy as Tiny from Give A Glimpse Of What Yer Not, but that may well be because this is a more consistent effort, an album full of highlights that reminds us that being ‘lovely’ and ‘loud’ aren’t mutually exclusive qualities, while furthering one of the most consistent catalogues in rock.

Verdict: 4/5

For fans of: Pixies, Mudhoney, Afghan Whigs

Sweep It Into Space is released on April 23 via Jagjaguwar

Read this: Frank Black: "When I get asked about Nirvana, I think, 'Am I being validated because some other dude mentioned my name?' F*ck that!"

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