J Mascis: Tied To A Star

Mostly acoustic solo return from Dinosaur Jr. guitar hero.

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Drummer Murph’s last-minute pull-out from Dinosaur Jr.’s European tour last year has put a temporary stop to the proto-grunge band’s increasingly convincing second act. Mascis was dabbling in multiple side-projects anyway. Here, he follows 2011’s solo Several Shades Of Why with another mostly acoustic guitar workout.

The clean whine of Every Morning’s electric solo is a welcome signal this won’t all be pastoral strumming. There’s an undertow of static to Stumble, too, which ends with Mascis’s vocal merging with a thin, fuzzed line of distortion. Heal The Star is the most intriguing song, in which a woozy rocker decides to ‘send my people running downtown’. Surely the protagonist isn’t the formerly passive-aggressive and these days perfectly pleasant Mascis himself?

Wide Awake’s languid aggression suits him, and his lonely, echo-drenched falsetto on Me Again is plaintive. Really, though, this is all about the many subtle varieties of what Mascis can do with a guitar when he’s not shredding with his main band. It’s relaxed, and effective at that.

Nick Hasted

Nick Hasted writes about film, music, books and comics for Classic Rock, The Independent, Uncut, Jazzwise and The Arts Desk. He has published three books: The Dark Story of Eminem (2002), You Really Got Me: The Story of The Kinks (2011), and Jack White: How He Built An Empire From The Blues (2016).