After temporarily suspending the band, J Mascis
first snuck out "The Wagon" as a Sub Pop single, then a little while later released the group's first major-label album, Green Mind
. More of a solo project than a group effort -- Lou Barlow
was out and then some, Murph
only drums on three tracks, a few guests pop up here and there -- it's still a great album, recorded and performed with gusto. Such a judgment may seem strange given Mascis
' legendary image as the überslacker, but clearly the man knows how to balance how to convey himself with getting the job done. "The Wagon" itself kicks off the album, an even quicker and nuttier sequel to the peerless "Freak Scene" -- Don Fleming
fame adds some of the music and background vocals, but otherwise it's Mascis
cranking it and having a blast. When Mascis
goes into one of his patented over-the-top solos, it all feels just right -- this is loud rock music for putting a smile on your face, not beating up people in a pit. The remainder of the album floats and rumbles along in its uniquely Dinosaur Jr.
type of way, as apt to find poppy hooks, singalongs, and soft strumming as it is to blow out the Marshalls. Sublime moments include the contrast of sweet acoustic guitar and loud drums on "Blowing It," the fun thrash of "How'd You Pin That One on Me," and the Mellotron-as-flute-tinged stomp "Thumb." If nothing on the album is completely as freaked-out and over the top as "Don't" from Bug
, it's still a fine translation of Mascis
' art for the commercial big boys. The song titles alone sometime say it all -- "Puke + Cry," "I Live for That Look," "Muck." Mascis
throughout sounds like his usual self, cracked drawl ever as it was and shall be.