Dinosaur Jr is an alternative rock band that originally formed in 1984, and was founded by J Mascis who does guitar, vocals and is the lead songwriter. Lou Barlow on bass/vocals and Murph makes up the rest of the band. After disbanding in 97, the band reformed once again in 2005. And with their 4th album release since reforming, Give a Glimpse of What Yer Not, gives more than a glimpse at what you can call a musical hybrid of classic rock, punk-rock and hooky pop. A few seemingly opposing genres that Dinosaur Jr easily makes sense of. Citing the Rolling Stones, the Beach Boys, The Birthday Party and Nick Cave as some of their influences, their mixed musical stylings comes as not too much a surprise.
With guitar riffs, distortion and intentionally weary vocals being at the forefront sonically (as can be heard straight up in the opening track Goin Down, in which the lack of aggressive vocal being one of the only markers that separates Goin Down, from being full punk-rock), and the apparent watermark of Dinosaur Jr’s sound, Give a Glimpse of What Yer Not cohesively links the individual songs up into a nice, little, gift-wrapped package of an album. There aren’t necessarily any surprises but its streamlined comfort, it’s secure, that’s its strength. Metaphorically speaking in stereotypical relationship analogies, it’s the guy you marry as opposed to the guy you spend a wild few weeks with. No shocks, no rollercoaster emotions, it’s assured, stable and composed in its delivery.
Tiny gives us a gratuitous guitar solo mid-way through the song that reminds us of the classic rock mentality of Dinosaur Jr. With guitar solos being the original guest rapper of modern music, Dinosaur Jr isn’t straying from the system in any way there, which is a good thing. Be a Part is the most ballad like it gets on the album, with its arena-rock power ballad rise and fall and talk of broken hearts, while Left/Right follows a similar pattern, “My fate is my fate, I’ll lie back and wait” is just a sample lyric of the latter, Dinosaur Jr do quite well with this particular style.
Dinosaur Jr has a secure album with Give a Glimpse of What Yer Not. And given a glimpse of what Dinosaur Jr is NOT is what we got, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing at all. But if the spontaneity and unpredictability of your youth is what you want, then this may not be your album.