It’s funny how true to their names the last two Dinosaur Jr. albums have been. I Bet on Sky was distant and trippy. Give a Glimpse of What Yer Not had one good song and then the rest of it sucked, hence embodying a true materialization of self after a glimpse of something else. And Sweep it into Space is just lazy, like disposing of something in a way that’s easy and irresponsible. And sure, it’s hard to go into outer space, but you never have a broom up there anyway, which makes me think the title is supposed to refer to something that’s really fantastical and idealistically simple. Now don’t get me wrong, Sweep it into Space is not a terrible album. But nobody would mistake it for an album that’s going to like “push forward the boundaries of rock,” the way Hum’s last album arguably did and every release from Liars seems to. It’s lazy in the way of like me when I’m at work and I’m doing something really fast and automatically with my hands and I think I’m the sh** but I’m actually not growing or improving in any way, as a worker or a person.
But Dinosaur Jr. were already a good band, as the half-million amount of streams on one of these songs four days after this record’s release might suggest. I keep going back to Beyond and Farm when I want some straight-ahead rocking that bleeds and aches way more than anything that frat-rock-sounding has any right to.
Sweep it into Space, in this vein, is a record that will please Dinosaur Jr. fans, if not necessarily gather them any new ones. “I Ain’t” gallivants in sounding pretty similar to “Rock ’n Roll Star” by Oasis with a riff that’s almost identical (thankfully the rest of the song’s not identical) and “I Met the Stones” sinks its teeth into the mix with a little more tension and sense of confrontation, somewhat like “Juicebox” by The Strokes did. The standout might be “Hide Another Round,” which features what I believe is the album’s most elaborate chord progression, and just as much muscle as anything else here to reinforce it. Things are safeguarded, you might say, though, against any infiltration of any “classic” status being assigned to this album, by just the deadening similarity this stuff has to the general band aesthetic we’ve known from 2007 to now. I’m pretty sure J. Mascis is using the exact same guitar and amp he had then and when the guitar solo comes in on “Hide Another Round” it took me right back to “Pick Me up,” like smoking the same kind of weed or doing the same kind of acid you did a week ago. See, even psychedelia is getting boring, and Dinosaur Jr. seems like a band that always held that malady close in mind, so their obstinacy in staying so staunchly in their own mode is a little more excusable, I’d say, and plays as more of evidence of a compelling disdain for every band other than them than it does a cop-out.