By the time Where You Been surfaced, Seattle had completely exploded, and given that Dinosaur Jr.‘s sound, attitude, and more were as proto-slacker as could be, the temptation must have been great to cash in. But J Mascis stuck to his guns, and there’s little about Where You Been that would have seemed out of place on Green Mind or even some earlier records. Recorded with a full band throughout, Mike Johnson and Murph lay down does-the-job rhythm tracks while Mascis tackles almost everything else. Where You Been is occasionally moody and dark but otherwise is more rough fun. Opening track “Out There” is one of the most mournful things Mascis has recorded, with an especially yearning chorus, but his fiery solo still makes it classic Dinosaur Jr. “Start Choppin” immediately follows, its quick, catchy lead riff helping to make it as close to a radio hit as the band ever had — and, of course, a big ol’ solo or two adding to the fun of it all. From there on in it’s a puréed blast of punk, classic rock, and more. It may be business as usual, but it’s good business just the same, whether it’s the gentle “Not the Same,” on which Mascis does his best Neil Young impersonation, or the stuttering feedback snorts and rips on “Hide,” on which he borrows a bit back from disciple Kevin Shields. Other highlights include “Get Me,” a melancholic, steady cruncher with another trademark solo of the gods, and the unjustly ignored “What Else Is New,” which sounds like a mid-’70s rock ballad with louder volume and none of the crud, right down to the concluding string section.
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