It might shock longtime fans to think of Dinosaur Jr. doing anything quietly, but such has been the progress of the fabled indie-rockers’ second act: Without much fuss, the original trio of J Mascis, Lou Barlow and Murph are now on their third album since reuniting in 2005 – the same number of records they completed together in the ’80s, before the lineup began to fray. I Bet on Sky slides so comfortably into Dinosaur’s discography that mentioning what’s new really just boils down to some piano, which deepens the emotional quality of album-opener “Don’t Pretend You Didn’t Know” and firms up the background of “Stick a Toe In.”
In all the right ways, I Bet on Sky is classic Dinosaur. Murph pounds the kit with unsurpassed authority; Mascis’s singular voice – nasal, tender and weary-sounding as always – crests above his melodically noisy guitar (nowhere better than on the closing “See It on Your Side”), while fiery solos flare on just about every tune; and as usual, Barlow turns in a pair of memorable songs: the antsy and moshable “Rude” and “Recognition,” which rates with the best of his Sebadoh material and just happens to feature some of Mascis’s most dazzling guitar work here. Don’t take this band for granted – Dinosaur is in its second creative peak and shows no sign of slowing down or dropping off.