4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Brutal but beautiful debut - not to be missed!,
This review is from: Dinosaur Jr (Audio CD)
Released back in 1985 this seminal recording is in my opinion Dinosaur Jr/J Mascis finest hour. Nevermind (no pun intended) that it was the glorious precursor to the whole Seattle Sub Pop scene that spawned Nirvana, Mudhoney, Tad, Screaming Trees or the Boston based genius of the Pixies, on this debut outing J Mascis, Lou Barlow and Murph created the blueprint for the whole
U.S. "alt-rock/grunge" sound that was to dominate both the "pop" charts and indie-rock in the late 80's and early 90's. While there is no doubting the influence and brilliance of the Dino's follow up "You're Living All Over Me" or the splendid slacker/Gen X overkill of "Bug" this is where it all started for the Dino's and the importance of this debut album is pivotal to understanding U.S. alt-rock's transition from hardcore punk to grunge and the multi-platinum success of that movement's greatest luminaries Nirvana. That's not to say that 'Dinosaur' is a proto-Nevermind it's simply too vast a canvas of influences and inspiration to merit that tag. Simply put no other album of its' time had such a sprawling, out of kilter and off the wall range of sound, fury, melody and genius. This remaster gloriously captures the Dino's melange of every truly great "indie" and rock influence of the preceding 20 years - from the blistering speed of Husker Du, the gonzoid booze fueled waywardness of The Replacements, the hardcore fury of Black Flag, the sweeping beauty-as-noise of Sonic Youth, the epic melancholy of The Cure and New Order and right back to the 70's brain shaking riffs of Black Sabbath and the ferocity of Neil Young & Crazy Horse yet possessing all the melodic pop sensiblities of Moby Grape and the Mamas and Papas with a whacked out hint of country-blues - all buried beneath a wall of noise and sludged-out riffing that sounded like nothing on earth. The Dino's created a MONSTER, a truly awesome, epic yet down home and intimate collage of poetic brutalism and heartfelt emotion that they seldom matched again. For all the punk/grunge raging fury these songs are a sophisticated amalgam of teen-angst and existential world weariness and display a fine understanding of melodic pop that was seldom matched until Nirvana's breakthrough 'Nevermind' kicked the arse of a generation - but it all really starts here with this exceptional debut. Rarely has rock music sounded so threatening so raucous and genuinely groundbreaking as on this superb debut. The only downside to this release is a truly atrocious bootleg quality live take of 'Does It Float' as a bonus track - it certainly gives a taste of just what an incendiary live band the early Dino's were but honestly the sound quality is so bad it hardly merits its' inclusion. That being said this is one debut album that ranks amongst the very best and the Dino's would seldom sound so fresh innovative and starlingly original again. Raw unpolished gonzoid rock never sounded so good.