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Beyond is the first album of new material by Dinosaur Jr since 1997, and the first to feature Mascis, Barlow and Murph in nearly two decades.

Rating: 8 / 10

Paul Nolan, 30 Apr 2007

Dinosaur Jr are one of the most influential American underground rock acts of the late ’80s and early ’90s. The likes of My Bloody Valentine, Blur, Sonic Youth and the Jesus And Mary Chain have all expressed their admiration at one stage or another, while Kurt Cobain asked the band’s frontman, J Mascis, to be Nirvana’s drummer. Radiohead guitarist Ed O’Brien, meanwhile, has admitted that, in the group’s early days, “We were in hock to The Pixies and Dinosaur Jr. up to our eyeballs”.

The Amherst, Massachusetts outfit released three albums (including the landmark You’re Living All Over Me) with the classic line-up of Mascis, Lou Barlow and Emmett “Murph” Murphy, before friction between Mascis and Barlow resulted in the latter leaving the band to pursue a highly acclaimed solo career. Mascis soldiered on and released a few more albums with a different line-up before eventually calling it a day.

Beyond is the first album of new material by Dinosaur Jr since 1997, and the first to feature Mascis, Barlow and Murph in nearly two decades.

What’s most remarkable about the record is its incredible level of musical cohesion – it’s like the trio never stopped playing together. Their distinctive mix of serrated guitars and beautiful melodies remains as exhilarating as ever, whilst the acoustic interludes are also executed with considerable aplomb.

Songs such as ‘Almost Ready’, ‘Pick Me Up’ and ‘It’s Me’ are awesome blasts of distorted guitars and thumping rhythms that serve as potent reminders of the band’s incredible sonic power.

Best of all is ‘Back To Your Heart’, a gorgeous collision of white noise and hypnotic vocals reminiscent of primetime MBV and Sonic Youth. Elsewhere, the country-tinged ‘We’re Not Alone’ and mellow ‘I Got Lost’ offer a nice counterpoint to Beyond’s more cacophonous moments.
Rating: 8 / 10

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