What with solo and side projects aplenty, the members of Dinosaur Jr have never been short of things to occupy their time, either during the alt.rock lynchpins’ neardecade- long hiatus, or, since reuniting in 2005, the relatively lengthy gaps between albums. Formed in 1989 by Dino Jr bassist Lou Barlow, Sebadoh themselves haven’t released an album since 1999, so this eighth full-length comes with high expectations.
At first, they’re satisfied. The uplifting, surprisingly polished pop squall of Can You Tell is followed by the mellower, more sombre tones of Love You Here, starting the record with the sort of panache that musical behemoths of this ilk should possess. That’s something shared by the dark, penetrating angulations of the title track, the off-kilter jangle of Final Days and the morose, lugubrious cadences of both Let It Out and Listen, two album highlights.
Indeed, the latter would make for a much better closer than the jarring, rambunctious Separate – one of a few songs (along with the slightly annoying sludge march of Beat, the frenetic whimsy of Inquiries and the juddering instrumental Once) that falls just short of those huge expectations. But when this record hits the mark, it’s very good indeed.