One of the consistently great rock bands from the last 25+ years has been the Amherst, Massachusetts based Dinosaur Jr. who time after time release albums full of guitar dynamics, fluid songwriting and muscular rhythmic intensity. Give A Glimpse Of What Yer Not continues the band’s string of successes with more of the same grunged up guitars, fuzzy bass and drum slaps.Opener “Goin Down” puts things square into focus with driving force while “Tiny” sprinkles a touch of hip swinging playfulness into the mix before a supersonic solo from guitar hero J Mascis. Being the foundation of the band (and it’s only true member for a few years) J directs, but bassist Lou Barlow and drummer Murph inject a powerful rumble that is vital. Gone are the piano experiments from 2012’s I Bet On Sky but the band still manages to mix things in to keep it fresh. The two Barlow penned tracks stand out immediately, “Love Is…” pairs Byrds influences with the group’s pumping sound successfully while disk closer “Left/Right” yearns with pleading emotion and riffage.
The punk force of the trio is more enhanced on this album than on any of the post 2007 reunion albums. A heavy vibe shines on “Good To Know” and “I Told Everyone” which breaks down in a big way to close. The hook of the band has always been Mascis fretboard majesty though and Give A Glimpse Of What Yer Not does not short change those flights of distortion. “I Walk For Miles” is a showcase for his axe; J turns up the metal vibe with a noticeable crunch as the band works through the designed changes over/around/through layers of riffs and feedback.
The tracks “Lost All Day” and “Be Apart” both incorporate a slow rolling melodic journey playing casually with tension and release, meandering with glorious solos, both reminiscent of mid-era Dino (think Hand It Over). “Knock Around” seems to be doing the same thing before exploding into a huge uptempo closing. While the band has increased the power on this album, they still work wonderfully with dynamics and phrasing.
One detriment is that there isn’t a stand out single as was the case with recent releases. “Watch The Corners” “Over It” and “Almost Ready” are three tracks from recent releases that rank high on all-time lists for the band. Also the trio is so locked into their style the riffs and runs can also feel derivative at times, however for their fans, this is far from a bad thing as more of their rumbling prehistoric six string driven rock and roll is always welcome; Give A Glimpse Of What Yer Not simply adds to Dinosaur Jr’s fossil-solid catalog.