Dinosaur Jr were somewhere to the left of Nirvana way back when, with the kind of melodic sense that Evan Dando brought to the Lemonheads, and squeezed out, grunged up guitar solos that Neil Young still dreams of. When Lou Barlow left the trio to form Sebadoh after 1988's Bug and a testy relationship, there were concerns that the band, which had always been built around J Mascis' guitar, would wander aimlessly. Bar one great album in Green Mind, that was about right.
Beyond is their first album in a decade, and sees Barlow reunited with the band. Incredibly, they genuinely sound as if they had never been away. It is as strong a piece of work as they have ever produced, and, even better in one respect than Bug or You're Living All Over Me, it is consistently excellent grunge from second one to close. The excitement that the overdriven lead guitar and great angst-y vocals provide never goes away. Beyond is a ride as intense as Rita Queen of Speed - explosive, adrenaline-laden short songs that know what they're about from the off. Resolutely lo-fi, this sounds like classic Dinosaur Jr, with occasional tips to Bob Mould's Sugar (Barlow's Back To Your Heart) or The Lemonheads. Do seek it out.
Dinosaur Jr. frontman J Mascis has revealed that Kurt Cobain asked him to join Nirvana, on more than one occasion. In an article with Spin...