Dinosaur Jr. – I Bet On Sky
It’s testament to the new-found harmony in the Dinosaur Jr. camp that J Mascis's long-term nemesis Lou Barlow has not only been entrenched in the fold for longer than his original era with the group (having now equalled the number of records this incarnation made back in the 80s), but firmly entrusted with a share of songwriting duties and the occasional lead vocal appearance. Rude's oddly melancholic rockabilly might jar a little, but the markedly better Recognition feels like vintage Dino.
Then again, the absolute slacker mastery of album opener Don’t Pretend You Didn’t Know – a career-equalling anthem complete with swirling, discordant organs shifting beneath a particularly woozy Mascis vocal – would be enough to eclipse an entire album of lesser tracks. Thankfully, Watch the Corners, Almost Fare and Stick a Toe In are there to complete an opening salvo which sets I Bet on Sky off to a nostalgia-tickling kickstart. They may stumble a little thereafter, but it's staggering to think that – nearly 30 years later – these Boston legends can still kick back with the best of them. [Paul Neeson]