Released: 23rd April 2021
After all of the turmoil of their early years, with band break-ups and albums that essentially became solo vehicles for J Mascis, it is almost a miracle that ‘Sweep It Into Space’ sees the original trio behind Dinosaur Jr. now firmly settled in a run of comfortable middle-aged lo-fi treats. Returning after five years away, this time co-produced by Kurt Vile, it cements their position as the *still* reliable elder statesmen of the alt. rock scene once more.
You could justifiably expect diminishing returns when anyone’s twelfth record comes along, but ‘Sweep It Into Space’ sees the trio still striving rather than settling. From the jaunty Tom Petty-esque ‘I Ran Away’ to the more muscular ‘I Met The Stones’, it’s the signature sound of a band that knows what they do well but still pushes gently at the edges of their world though things may begin to drift in the second half. Mascis’ guitar work is suitably *chef’s kiss* at points, wringing every emotion out of tracks like the soaring Barlow-sung’ Garden’ or the classic squeals and flourishes that have defined his style for nearly forty years now.
Sometimes it’s tempting to dismiss a band that have been around for this long, rather than celebrate their ability to still be crafting perfect fuzzy nuggets at this stage in their lives, and careers. Will ‘Sweep It Into Space’ change the world? Course not. Is it still good? Damn right.