The third LP since the iconic alt.rock trio’s mid-aughties reunion, I Bet On Sky moves to clear the clouds of overwhelming distortion that is the band’s usual raison d’etre and let the songs themselves shine through. This may have been as simple a decision as mixing the vocals upfront and the guitars more in the middle of the sound, but regardless, it’s a breath of fresh air for the group. Not that there’s anything wrong with Dino Jr.‘s usual method – after all, the sensual sensory overload of J Mascis‘ Jazzmasters driven to near-breakdown is what put the band on the map. But letting a little light into the arrangements deservedly calls attention to the strength of the melodies, whether they’re in the hard-rocking “Pierce the Morning Rain,” the punk-popping “Rude,” the folk-rocking “Almost Fare,” the driving “Recognition” or the soaring “Watch the Corners” and “Don’t Pretend You Didn’t Know.” Mascis’ voice is at its strongest (not that that’s saying much, admittedly, but he’s lost of a lot of the pitch-insensitive creak) and his playing is at its richest. Lou Barlow‘s tunes underscore how important his contributions are. I Bet On Sky isn’t just Dinosaur Jr.‘s best record in its reunion years, but one of the band’s best in its entire history.