I Bet on Sky is the third Dinosaur Jr. album since the original trio Ð J Mascis, Lou Barlow and Murph Ð reformed in 2005. And, crazily, it marks the bandÕs 10th studio album since their debut on Homestead Records in 1985. Back in the Ô80s, if anyone has suggested that these guys would be performing and recording at such a high level 27 years later, they would have been laughed out of the tree fort. The trio has taken everything theyÕve learned from the various projects they tackled over the years, and poured it directly into their current mix. JÕs guitar approaches some of its most unhinged playing here, but thereÕs a sense of instrumental control that matches the sweet murk of his vocals (not that he always remembers to exercise control on stage, but thatÕs another milieu). This is head-bobbing riff-romance at the apex. LouÕs basswork shows a lot more melodicism now as well, although his two songs on I Bet on Sky retain the jagged rhythmic edge that has so often marked his work. And MurphÉwell, he still pounds the drums as hard and as strong as a pro wrestler, with deceptively simple structures that manage to interweave themselves perfectly with his bandmatesÕ melodic explosions.After submerging myself in I Bet on Sky, itÕs clear that the album is a true and worthy addition to the Dinosaur Jr. discography. It hews close enough to rock formalism to please the squares. Yet it is brilliantly imprinted with the trioÕs magical equation, which is a gift to the rest of us. For a combo that began as anomalous fusion of hardcore punk and pop influences, Dinosaur Jr. have proven themselves to be unlikely masters of the long game.
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