on 29 March 2005
After years of anticipation for the re-release of this seminal album (it was previously almost impossible to get hold of)I was a bit reluctant to listen to it at first. Numerous great bands have remarked on this album being one of the most inspirational records ever pressed. I always had faith in the strength of this record due to the band's following release 'Bug'. 'Bug' was a really strong record that blended the pure dissonant noise of Sonic Youth (fellow label mates at the time) with frequent moments of Pop-Rock genius. So, how did I find 'You're Living All Over Me'?
In a word, brilliant. I was not dissapointed with this record. It certainly sounds very different from anything else I've heard from Dinosaur Jr. It doesn't really have the ear friendly pop elements of 'Bug' to such an extent and it doesn't have the more commercial buzz of the later Geffen releases. The fundamental aspect of this record is its' chaotic structure blended with really articulate riffs. The album fuses many genres, notably Rock, Metal, Folk/Country, Punk.
I think the most exciting aspect of this record is the way you can notice Dinosaur Jr's influence on bands to come. The most shining example I can think of is definately implicit in the first track, the phenomenal 'Little Fury Things'. When the track begins with Mascis' ear blasting screaming and the heavy, screaching riff you don't really know what to expect. However, the song sinks into a beautiful chord progression that yells My Bloody Valentine. From this it's easy to see the effect this record had on the likes of Ride and My Bloody Valentine. It's also evident to see the influence on Kurt Cobain. The brilliantly poppy 'In a Jar' not only indicates what direction the band would take with their next release 'Bug', it also hints at the way Kurt Cobain would use alternative rock as a way of expressing poppy hooks to great effects.
The only other thing I can really say about this album is the musicianship. J. Mascis is on top form as always with his giant guitar solos and great riffing. the other guy to look at in this band is Lou Barlow. Barlow was ultimately kicked out of the band but it's hard not to notice the great input he had. His bass playing in this record is fantastic and he also shows signs of what he would achieve with Sebadoh, Folk Implosion and his solo work.
In a nutshell, great record! Not just for alternative junkies like myself but fofr anyone who likes great music.
on 27 March 2014
Ok so I feel terrible for the attention-seeking, one-star review. This is a great album, no doubt. Amazing even.
But this 2005 remaster from Merge records is another victim of the 'Loudness Wars'. The 1987 CD release of this album on SST has lots of dynamics, quiet bits are quiet, loud bits are loud (how it should be).
With this version, everything is aggressively dynamically compressed (so the quiet bits are almost as loud as the loud bits). The result is harsh and nasty; a disgrace to the band and the album.
I've taken a screenshot of a track from each version in a sound-editing package so you can see what I mean: i.imgur.com/KkSUkeS.png
Please also check the Dynamic Range Database.
Original 1987 version: dr.loudness-war.info/album/view/27462
This 2005 version: dr.loudness-war.info/album/view/48417
Please, don't waste your money on this version.
on 27 March 2002
'Neil Young jamming with Black Flag' as someone once described this album to me. Its been in my collection now for more than 10 years, and gets a play now and then. It still sounds like the first time I ever played it - unique, beautiful, haunting, insane, inspired and just downright out-of-this-world amazing. Dinosaur Jr have a pretty cool body of work, and J Mascis gets a mention now and then as a big influence on a lot of bands, but no guitar trio ever touched the heights of pure melodic noise on this album. The definitive Dinosaur line-up and sound. Listen to 'Raisans' at full blast - its the best guitar break ever recorded and still leaves me speechless every time.
on 1 March 2012
Don't worry if you don't like this album on your first listening, it happened to me. If you give it a chance (or two), you might find out how emotionally resonant Dinosaur Jr. can be. Those punishing guitars and lethargic vocals may put someone off at first, but letting go and diving headfirst into the marshmallow-y sad sack world of J. Mascis, you might find some treats there.
First of all, the guitar playing is insanely good. Mascis may sound lazy, but his skill with the strings is never questioned on this album. His lyrics, though, are something else. You can't interpret them in any straight way; it all depends on your personal experiences. One song can mean something entirely different for two separate people, and that's the point of the album. If you don't feel moved by it, don't fret; it will get under your skin soon enough.
on 20 July 2011
Not the out and out classic that those wax nostalgic about but a truly astonishing second album from the then Dinosaur and soon after this release the first for the band with the added Jr. Bug was the seminal step that incorporated all that went before with a beefier production and tighter songwriting, straying periodically into the slacker country-grunge that Mascis was to direct the band towards, but You're living... is the indie classic. It's rough, raw, full of heart and just very cool.
'Little Furry Things' is a classic. It draws you in immediately from the distorted waves of guitar through to the sublime chorus. They have not sounded like this ever again. 'Kracked' is slightly edgier but transforms into a tuneful thing of beauty for the last half of the track. 'Sludgefeast' is just that. It's down, low and dirty but also again very catchy. Just with these 3 tracks the band show how diverse they can be while sounding completely unique. 'The Lung' continues the angular-yet-catchy remit well. But with 'Raisins' we get an almost-single. What a completely unbeatable song. Great chorus, perfect lead. 'Tarpit' is similar to 'The Lung' but is still very good. 'In A Jar' is merely ok really as nothing of great interest happens to beat what has gone before. 'Lose' is the weakest track on the album as it is quite average and has nothing to make you want to listen again. 'Poledo' however is great. Half of the track is a very lo-fi, shoe-gazy strum and sing acoustic, and the last half is some truly creepy walls of sound. Another left-fielder from DJ. The cover of Peter Frampton's 'Show Me The Way' is excellent. It's a great song anyway but also feels right in DJ's grungey hands.
A favourite of mine but not my complete favourite. Saying that there are so many 'favourites' to choose from where DJ are concerned as each album, apart from the more recent releases, is so different from the last and packed full of such great songs that you'd think that they had some sort of excellent-song-making-machine.
If you like unusual indie bands and 'proper' grunge, and you have not heard this, I cannot recommend it enough.
on 30 January 2010
Both a defining moment in slacker, 80s indie culture, with it's blend of hardcore punk and mumblecore lyrical sentiment, and a virtual blueprint for the Seattle grunge scene; You're Living All Over Me is one of those records that is constantly cited as 'influencial' almost over and above 'totally rocking.'
But totally rocking it is, as J Mascis and co. borrow liberally from the fundamentals of classic rock: Neil Young soloing, Byrdsian guitar jangle, Black Sabbath sludge; and filter them through the underground's lo-fi aethetic and Mascis' dyspeptic, perpetually heartbroken angst. It's a record that sonds fairly chaotic, walls of feedback and noise underscore entire songs, but it also sounds remarkably precise and constructed, with songs coalescing into a huge hook or chorus just when you think they're on the brink of falling apart.
With song titles like Sludgefeast and Tarpit, this was always going to be a dark, grimy, record. And so it is. At times the band create a thick soup of noise; waves of wah-wah, bass rumble and pounding drumming that are like being submerged in quicksand. Only a lot more fun than that sounds. But the tunes also have a remarkable melodic brightness. The hooks on Little Fury Things, Raisans and Tarpit are immense. Dino's work here has as much in common with the melodicism of bands like the Cure and R.E.M. as noise merchants like Big Black and Sonic Youth.
This album is also particularly loved, I think, because it one of the most distinctly Lou-influenced Dinosaur records, particularly in the case of the proto-Sebadoh Poledo. To be honest, I was at least as happy when J was running the band as a dictatorship, but Barlow's imprint is certainly distinctive here. In any case, this is an awesome record.
on 29 October 2007
There's something about this album that speaks to me, and I'm not alone I gather. Dinosaur Jr.'s second album is the very definition of a gem. There's not a single track on here without the spark that turns a great album into a masterwork. Dinosaur had really kicked into gear by 1986, and `...Living All Over Me' is a far more focused and ferocious effort than their debut (which is great too, by the way). They are audibly more confident this time around, maybe because of the endorsement of Thurston Moore et al (who Lou Barlow is quoted as saying are "the coolest band in the world"), and there's so much flair, so many of those wonderful touches of genius that make my ears prick up, that I wouldn't mind committing myself to proclaiming this the best American indie/grunge record of all time.
And to the songs... well, where do we start? Honestly, they're all fantastic. But my favourites are `Kracked' (with its breakdown to bass and then a blazing solo), `The Lung' (which gets my vote for their true classic), `Raisans' (marvellous lyrics, a chorus that's all choruses need), and `In A Jar'. The latter could be the blueprint for the rest of the album: a brilliant Neil Young-style chord progression fed through different layers of distortion, building to one of the most unrestrainedly wild closing sections I've ever heard.
All three members are on top form here. They sound like they're challenging each other to beat their own performance. Now, I know that the recording quality isn't exactly ideal, but that's what gives this record the feeling that the band were just in the right headspace to go into the studio, and create something as fiery and impassioned as this without slowing down. It couldn't have been done any other way. It couldn't sound any cleaner and still have that spark. I saw the band perform this in its entirety at the London Koko in August 06, and hearing it this way really takes some beating.
And there we have it - a totally gushing review of a totally brilliant album. Buy it now!
on 31 January 2006
I was a newcomer to the Dinosaur sound but had heard good things about them and was a fan of Sonic Youth, who i was told they resembled in sound. I was blown away with this album, there are elements of sonic youth but also Neil young who J Mascis is a fan of. Seeing this album performed in its entirety last year as part of the excellent 'don't look back' series of concerts really brought it home. Opening track 'Little Fury Things' has been a constant on my cd player throughout 2005 and i'm sure will be in 2006!. So many great tracks and air guitarists will be in heaven with the awesome solos on 'Kracked' and 'Raisans'. The guitar playing of Mascis really is incredible, a master of both rhythm and solo playing. Not to be outdone, Lou barlow contributes 'Poledo' which is a bizarre listening experience and this newly remastered version includes their crazy version of the Cure's 'Just Like Heaven' changed from the sweet pop song to guitar overload. This one goes to 11!. Murph's drumming is barely controlled and everything fits together nicely. The best starting point, I went on to purchase Bug and the self titled debut which are both excellent, but not as good as this.
'You're Living All Over Me' is simply one of the key 'rock' albums of all time, seeming to me one of those records whose influence was key in relation to what it followed and what followed it. Sure, there were plenty of rock albums that were significant in America in the 1980s - The Cramps & Gun Club debuts would influence many, then there was 'Double Nickels on the Dime', and 'Zen Arcade', Husker Du's 'Eight Miles High', and 'Let It Be', and 'Up on the Sun', and 'Evol', and stuff like Flipper, The Wipers, X & Chrome...but by 1987 there seemed to be a vague movement on both sides of the Atlantic centred on a new definition of rock music, stretching it into avant-extreme places. Records like 'Sister', 'Locust Abortion Technician' and 'Atomizer.' Acts like The Young Gods, My Bloody Valentine, The Jesus & Mary Chain, Loop &...Dinosaur Jr.
This was their second album and seems to me the missing link between US underground punk, metal, psychedelia and shoegazing!! I am sure Nirvana could not have happened without it and others who have nodded its way include Buffalo Tom, The Boo Radleys, Swervedriver, Ride, Screaming Trees, Teenage Fanclub, Velvet Crush, The Foo Fighters & The Afghan Whigs. Just about any alternative act with a guitar that followed was influenced by it, whether they knew it or not. I guess this might be one of those records that might be more influential and important than necessarily enjoyable...one to debate?
Personally I think it all stands up fine, the original trio of J Mascis, Lou Barlow & Murph aligned with Sonic Youth - it woukd be released on SST records, the Youth's Lee Renaldo provides backing vocals & the following year's 'Teen Age Riot' would be about Mascis. It's one of those records that is all a highlight, the trio compliment each other wonderfully - Barlow is particularly great singing Mascis' 'Little Fury Things', which certainly shows where the wonderful Sebadoh would come from on records like 'III', 'Bakesale' & 'Harmacy.' Other highlights include 'The Lung', 'In a Jar', 'Sludgefeast' & 'Raisans' - Mascis was becoming the primary songwriter, which lead to the split with Barlow following the almost as great 'Bug' a year or so later. This reissue comes with great sleevenotes from Byron Coley, a bonus track in the form of their 1989-cover version of The Cure's 'Just Like Heaven' & the promos to 'Little Fury Things' & 'Just Like Heaven.' Along with 'Bug' it's a must have purchase - though I think 'Green Mind' and 'Where You Been?' (both just reissued) have many fine moments. Barlow's work after, as a solo artist and member of the Folk Implosion/New Folk Implosion and Sebadoh is excellent too. One of those perfect records and one that will live all over you...
on 11 November 2014
In my opinion this is Dinosaur Jr at their best, I rate Freak Scene as my favourite song but i think this is a more complete album than Bug. Sludgefest, Raisans, Tarpit and In a Jar are exceptional tunes and Little Furry Things is a great opener. No excessive guitar solos, the songs are of great tempo and dont sound anywhere near as depressing as some of the songs on Green MInd, i rate Green Mind as a good album but i feel it gives of a negative vibe that i cant really explain. This album though to me gives of a positive vibe, and i think a lot of that is due to the tempo. If you haven't heard it i am envious of you for what you will feel on when you play it for the first time. Class Album, a must have for any music fan.