Thursday, February 08, 2007

album of the day

Where You Been by Dinosaur Jr.

Everyone whose formative years included the "grunge" scene of the early 1990's has their own robust opinions about the merits of the countless groups that got grouped under the one banner. My own personal opinion is that the movement threw up one unequivocal genius (Kurt Cobain of Nirvana), two truly great rock vocalists (Chris Cornell of Soundgarden and Mark Lanegan of Screaming Trees) and one truly great instrumentalist - J Mascis of Dinosaur Jr.

Where You Been is their commercial and artistic apogee - released in 1993, which doesn't seem that long ago to me, until you consider that it was a time when a tune as brutal as Start Choppin' could be a top 20 hit in the UK singles chart. Then it suddenly seems like a very long time ago.

It's an album you'll know your opinion about within 20 seconds or so - the massive fuzzed guitar riff that opens Out There will either have you in a shut-eyed salivating air-guitar frenzy or covering your ears and reaching for the off switch. Apart from the strange plangent interlude of Not The Same it's all in pretty similar vein, Mascis pulling another guitar solo out of a hurricane of noise, with his reedy Neil-Young-on-Valium vocals buried somewhere in the middle. Out There, Start Choppin' and Get Me are the highlights. Play it loud.

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