For the past 15 years, American singer-guitarist Joseph “J” Mascis has slipped out a solo project after every album by his main hustle, Dinosaur Jr. Originally unaccompanied acoustic folk-rock, far gentler than Dinosaur’s infamous “ear-bleeding country”, it now features an excellent slide guitarist and drummer. The songs still feel tender, acoustic at heart, but are increasingly decorated with coruscating electric solos. True, there’s none of the dynamic tension Dinosaur find in between their jet-engine roar and J’s fragile falsetto. That’s fine. It’s not missed. Mascis’s impressively consistent songwriting carries the weight.
Singles such as Right Behind You house the strongest choruses, but there’s little filler here. If you like his voice (“I don’t even know if I like my singing,” confessed Mascis to Stereogum) then it’s a blessing that four decades of fighting to be heard over his own guitar have somehow left it weirdly unchanged. As usual, the words he drawls are blankly impenetrable – the gorgeous I Can’t Find You could be about friendships, a relationship or his car keys. Still, this is a wonderfully agreeable album and, if you miss the roar, there should be more Dinosaur Jr in a year or two.