The last year has been, let’s face it, odd to say the least. The global pandemic has brought a horde of fearful anxieties and a desperate need for something solid to cling on to, a life raft to pin our hopes to and sail away from all this uncertainty. Enter then Dinosaur Jr, the somewhat unexpected slacker saviours of the piece, and their first new album in half a decade. Of course, as with all things, the release of Sweep It Into Space was delayed by Covid – it should have seen the light of day in the middle of 2020 – but that delay means the succour and salve it brings with it is more welcome than it ever could have been in an average year.
The watchword is reassuring, though never in a dull and repetitive way. This is not Dinosaur Jr by numbers, but draw together a checklist of the reasons why, almost three decades after their debut and over 15 years since they reformed, they are so beloved – the sad, self-effacing lyrics, big riffs, fuzzed-out sonic walls and general ennui – and across the dozen songs on offer, every box will be ticked on multiple occasions.
The stand-out epic ‘Garden’ is the real addition to their pantheon, a hair-swaying throb of a track that can happily sit alongside such classics as ‘Freak Scene’, ‘Start Choppin” or ‘Feel The Pain’, but it’s far from alone in its majesty.This is not an album that sits on its laurels or cashes in on the band’s past glories. Whether happily moshing along to ‘Hide Another Round’, deep diving into classic sunshine indie with ‘I Ran Away’ or riding soaring solos on ‘I Met The Stones’, there isn’t a misstep in sight.
Quite simply, it’s as glorious as the first hug from a long-missed friend and who among us could want for anything more than that right now?