One of my favourites. It just all feels right. From the cover artwork through to the dark tone that permeates most of the tracks here. 'Feel the Pain' is just an excellent opener and a surprise commercial hit for the band. My favourite song follows. 'I Don't Think So' is sublime. It's merely a simple, one note strummer about lost love but has a chorus that coils around the cerebellum. All of the rest are equally as good. Other stand outs are 'Mind Glow', 'Get Out Of This', 'On the Brink', 'Seemed like the Thing to Do' and 'Over Your Shoulder' - basically the last 5 or 6 tracks. Which leaves only 2 or 3 tracks that are all very good, just not as good.
To be played on a dark winter's night with just the light of the stereo/ipod dock/ record player etc for illumination.
Previous to the release of this album, Dinosaur Jr had already been responsible for three classic albums that had forced the world to stand up and take note- first 'your living all over me', followed by 'bug', and possibly the more radio friendly 'green mind'. Three albums of such quality in succession of eachother had meant that this little band from Boston was making big waves in the music industry. However, what appeared to be a concious effort by j. mascis to step away from the limelight meant that dinosaur jr were soon forgotten by the fickle majority in the flood of 'grunge' and 'brit pop', neither of which genres were able to encorporate the sound of dinosaur jr. This record is the sound of a band doing what they do best. True, Dinoaur Jr were not making waves any more as their style had been copied and re-produced by so many bands that there was nothing groundbreaking to be found here, but to hear such a genuine and fragile voice as that of J Mascis pouring over his ever impressive guitar licks and riffs is as refreshing as ever. The best thing that can be said about this album and all other albums by this band is that Dinosaur Jr don't write bad songs. Never have and never will. This is intelligent, genuine rock music. His voice will either leave you cringing or yearning for more as this is the true voice of a man telling tales of heartbreak with his own brand of subtle humour creeping in occasionally. Buy Dinosaur Jr- they rule
It was always going to be difficult following up an album like Where You Been and this, almost inevitably, suffers a bit in comparison. Which is not to say there's anything much wrong with it, however. The opening seconds reveal the difference between the two albums. Where Where You Been had the instant rock attack of Out There, Without A Sound has the pop of a cork being drawn from a wine bottle and the mellow country-ish chug of Feel The Pain (which employs the Start Choppin trick of having a big frenzied rock riff chucked into the middle of it instead of a chorus). I Don't Think So is in similar wistful vein, and while there are some more aggressive moments later (Grab It in particular) overall it's a more low-key affair than its predecessor. Any album featuring J Mascis' sublime guitar playing is always worth a listen, though.
The opening sound (a cork being drawn from a bottle) tells you that what you are about to hear is the aural equivalent of a fine mature claret. Sit down, pour a big glass, and enjoy. J Mascis is a jazzmaster wielding genius, and this is a more rounded album than "Where you been". He still manages to switch between grinding guitar onslaught ("Grab it") and mellow acoustic ("Outta Hand") with impressive flair. If, like me, you like a decent slab of noise without any aggression, this is the perfect antidote to nu-metal excess. It's like a lesson from the master. Now pour me another glass...