The guitars are still fuzzy, Mascis’ voice is still nasal, but most importantly the tunes are still there. Underneath the noise and guitar pedals, good old melody has always been Dinosaur Jr.’s secret weapon, and it’s here in force. The two singles ‘I Ran Away’ and ‘Garden’ are proper pop-rock anthems, the latter only salvaged from Coldplay-cheese territory by the obligatory guitar solo.
One odd exception from the otherwise all-encompassing classic sound is ‘Take it Back’. The chorus is heavy enough, but the verses are twee slices of piano pop, which would sound more at home on a quirky early iPhone advert than on a Dinosaur Jr album. Normal scheduling is quickly resumed though with the next two tracks ‘N Say’ and ‘Walking To You’ being arguably the strongest on the album, with Mascis, Barlow and Murph doing what they do best.
Sweep It Into Space may not be as raw and exciting as the band’s early albums, but an ageing rock band is not an easy thing to be. Well into their fifties, avoiding embarrassment is impressive enough, and consistently releasing albums of this quality is almost miraculous.
It is, basically, more of the same - but when it’s Dinosaur Jr. maybe that’s not such a bad thing.