I don’t know what precipitated the need for J Mascis to discard Dinosaur Jr. as his moniker for this record. No one ever mistook that band for much of a democracy. Plus, with his singular guitar playing and incredibly unmistakable vocal style, there was never going to be too much question about who was behind the music on this disc.
If anything, though, to my ears Mascis has reigned himself in a bit more than on the most recent Dino Jr. discs. Many times, it seemed, he was just in a hurry to get to the guitar solo – after all that’s primarily what his fans wanted to see. One can almost imagine the same people that fill his concerts as those who would hang out at the local Sam Ash around the demo guitar models and talk about the merits of assorted amps. But here it seems that more time was spent crafting the songs.
Keyboards are well-employed several times. "Grand Me To You" is understated with (relatively) soft guitar parts and allows the vocals to carry the melody. "Can’t I Take This On" sounds unlike anything I’ve ever heard Mascis do. Meanwhile, Bob Pollard sings some back-up on three tracks and, even though you would never recognize his voice without the aid of the liner notes, it’s good to hear someone else contribute.
Of course, that’s not to say he’s totally abandoned the guitar trickery and sonic boom solos. They are still here a’plenty on the title track as well as "I’m Not Fine" (which sounds like J Mascis and Crazy Horse) "Sameday" and "Waistin" proving that there are few who do them better. (James Baumann)