Nostalgia is worth our time. To be able to reach back, and bask in a joy that was once experienced. To fascinate over a moment in time that sends shivers through your veins. When those times encompassed your own growth into ripeness, they cling to the walls of your brain like a baby to the bottle. Walking through hallways of dorms, and old, dank basements in Amherst, Massachusetts, is something I often reminisce over.
Hearing the reunion album from an in-form Dinosaur Jr., Beyond, has induced such memories. The fuzzy discord that was trademark Jr. appears immediately ("Almost Ready" supplies the fuzz), and the guitar jam spectacle is let out on "Pick Me Up." The latter, a seeming concoction of seventies and nineties hard rock joy, brings the taste of cheep beer to my glistening buds. "Back to your Heart" opens slowly, with an exhausted slur from an aging tongue--it is a voice that is at once sad and urgent; a reach toward a lost conscience.
"We're Not Alone" is a sweet mix of pop and rock. The scratch in the voice of J. Mascis and the rhythm section of drummer Murph and Lou Barlow on bass guitar setting an even tone for a song with a bit of passion. The mood gets even softer and sweeter on "I Got Lost," sounding almost Beach Boy-esque with soft vocal harmonizing (apologies to the band if this comparison offends). This song draws emotion, for its intention seems transparently apologetic. "Lightning Bulb" exhibits the band asserting itself from go--guitar reverb, bass, and then the bang of drum--absorption.
The reconnection of this band does not receive the market attention of the Police, or other recently regaled reunions. This was a band whose cultural reach was significant in the indie rock movement of the late eighties and early-nineties. Time apart has not worn them thin in the least bit. Beyond will prove better accompaniment for a scorching summer ahead, when the most precious moments will be spent under a tree, with a can of beer--sitting still, and reminiscing over good times. • Robert Karmin