Highlights: Don’t Pretend You Didn’t Know, Watch The Corners, Almost Fare, What Was That
While this is certainly the prettiest grunge you are ever going to get all year, I can only see tried and true Dinosaur Jr. fans getting too excited about this one. I Bet On Sky is a very risk-free, very safe collection of melodic, tastefully noisy indie-rock that makes for a delightful little late-period album. A modest success, but it’s not like they were going for more.
The tunes are pretty (mostly courtesy of J. Mascis, though there are 2 worthy contributions from Lou Barlow) and the guitar tones are pretty (even when they go for something menacing, like they do on Barlow’s “Rode”), so there’s little you could possibly dislike about I Bet On Sky. Mascis’ weary vocals sound like a gruffer Jeff Tweedy (I would argue, though, that these melodies will beat anything on Wilco’s latest – not that it’s a legitimate comparison, of course) and the actual songs are like Teenage Fanclub for people suffering from manic depression. I think I could listen to the charming guitar groove that drives “Almost Fare” for hours on end.
All things considered, this stands well against Bug and You’re Living All Over Me, and further listens are rewarding. You don’t see new fans embracing them as the new heroes, but who would really blame them for sticking to their guns and doing what they know they can do so well?..