Album Review: Dinosaur Jr. - Sweep It Into Space

Peter Bath reviews the latest LP instalment from prolific American rock group, Dinosaur Jr.

Peter Bath
3rd May 2021
A lot has changed in the 36 years since Dinosaur Jr.’s debut album, but the trio’s quality and their unique sound have remained constant. Whether it’s because they were always outliers from the scene, or because fashions have come full circle, their twelfth album finds the indie/country/metal/noise boys sounding as relevant as ever. Collaboration from Kurt Vile on Sweep It Into Space’s production hints at the huge field of modern artists who have taken influence from the band.

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.


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