Dinosaur Jr.’s I Bet On Sky dabbles with many different shades of indie rock, but its greatest aspect probably lies in J Mascis’s melodic guitar lines. The album is filled with crunchy open chords layed over generally somber tempos. The musicianship is what carries the album, where Mascis’s vocals may fault with higher ranges, the band kicks with a steady drive.
You can tell that some of the songs may not have been put together in the most controlled fashion, such as “Stick a Toe In” where Mascis’s epilogue guitar solo decidedly takes another eight bars, Murph drops out of time for a brief moment. I can only imagine that a lot of the album was recorded in a live studio setting. I Bet On Sky is filled with many likeable songs, but their Achilles’ heel tends to be length. With some trimming “Don’t Pretend You Didn’t Know” would have made for a stronger opening track, making its repetitious nature an endearing kick starter rather than a jammed-out track that feels like a second-best take.
“Pierce the Morning Rain” will definitely entertain fresh listeners to Dinosaur Jr.’s admittedly infectious energy. Longtime fans of Mascis’s songwriting should find a comfortable balance in the material on Sky, with songs like “What was That” and “Watch the Corners” showing a group that is moving comfortably in their place, expanding their sound while still maintaining the formulas that made them good in the first place.