Almost twenty years ago the original lineup of Dinosaur Jr. split up with Lou Barlow getting even indier forming Sebadoh a variety of other lo-fi offshoots and singer J Mascis releasing a bunch of great records for Warner Brothers before disbanding in 1997. Prior to that the band had released a handful of potent SST records into the post-punk world of college radio, more or less setting the table for what would ultimately become “grunge.”
Much has changed in the past decade: hip-hop and emo rules what’s left of the airwaves, digital distribution has driven most indie record stoes out of business, myspace has opened up the music business to niches previosuly unserved, and what’s is left of the alternative market is further diluted. But none of this should matter, “Beyond” picks up almost where the band left off, infusing pop into punk, melody out of pounding guitars and drums. The eleven songs don’t break any new ground, but I suppose that absense makes the heart grow fonder.