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Album reviews: Dinosaur Jr., Eric Church, Toumani Diabate and the London Symphony Orchestra

Dan DeLuca, The Philadelphia Inquirer on

Published in Entertainment News

Dinosaur Jr.

"Sweep It Into Space"

(Jagjaguwar, ***)

It was only a matter of time before Kurt Vile and J Mascis got around to working on an album together. Vile was a Dinosaur Jr. fan growing up in Lansdowne, Pennsylvania, in the 1990s, and his loose, discursive style as a singer-guitarist owes a significant debt to the sound Mascis patented on the group's 1987 album, "You're Living All Over Me."

Vile is credited as coproducer on the new "Sweep It Into Space," the fifth album that Dinosaur Jr. has released since Mascis reconvened the original lineup of drummer Patrick Murphy and bassist Lou Barlow. Vile also plays 12-string guitar on "I Ran Away," a bright, springy ditty that sounds for all the world like a Kurt Vile song.

The circle of influence isn't seamless, however. Vile — who has announced that his next album will be on the storied jazz label Verve — began work on "Sweep It" in late 2019, but the COVID-19 pandemic prevented him from finishing at Dino headquarters in Amherst, Massachusetts. Instead, Mascis completed the album on his own.

 

Dinosaur Jr. is unquestionably Mascis' band, and he deserves props for maintaining remarkable quality control over a 35-year period. His lazy drawl is as inviting as ever on "Sweep It," whether he's singing over the cascading chords of "I Ain't" or the AC/DC churn of "I Met the Stones."

But credit for this melodically enticing and satisfyingly rocking new release must also go to Barlow, who penned the single "Garden" and the lovely psych-rock closer "You Wonder," fulfilling his two-songs-per-album quota like Keith Richards on a quality Rolling Stones LP. — Dan DeLuca

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Eric Church

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