Dinosaur (they had yet to add the jr then) released their self-titled debut in 1985. It’s pretty different to the rest of their albums as there are a whole load of different styles on this album. J Mascis had yet to truly find his guitar sound, and it makes for a very interesting listen. A couple of the tracks sound a little like the Cure, especially the Lou Barlow sung Forget the Swan which perfectly distils the essence of the Cure’s Fire In Cairo.
Cats In A Bowl barrels along the lines of label mates the Meat Puppets. The Leper, Pointless and Repulsion are rockier, closer to the sound they became famous for. Does It Float marries a load of different styles in the one song, starting out like the Cure’s Primary and morphing into a Meat Puppets chugger with shades of REM before lurching into screaming hardcore all in the one song.
Severed Lips is the most relaxed track here, an almost gentle strum with Mascis whining “I won’t cry if you won’t”. The track is notable for one of the earliest of Mascis’ glorious guitar solos. Final track Quest has a similar feel. On the other extreme Mountain Man is speed metal, almost pure Creeping Death era Metallica even down to Barlow’s James Hetfield style vocals!
It’s a strange listen as the songs don’t hang together particularly well but it’s kind of fascinating to hear the band try out different styles.