After finishing up his Sire contract, J Mascis dropped the Dinosaur Jr. moniker under which he had worked since, well, when Dinosaur Jr. had been an actual band. A control freak to the point of legend, J named his new still-solo project “The Fog”, releasing its debut album in late summer of 2000.
Between the shifting of tastes at the time and the fact that the album didn’t carry the Dinosaur Jr. brand, More Light flew pretty much below radar. Which is too bad, as it’s a fine rock album and still fairly Dino-ish. It’s certainly better than the scattershot Dinosaur Jr. coda Hand it Over, and could close to hold its own against 1994’s Without a Sound.
There aren’t any real traces of the SST-era J Mascis to be found here until the title track wraps things up, but then the bludgeoning fuzz of those albums was mostly gone by the early 90’s. Nor does More Light feature the sonic overload of the early Sire records. What’s left is still J’s jaw-dropping guitar work, but less layered, allowing it to come across a little cleaner and bit more angular. The distortion is still there though, especially in “I’m Not Fine” and the “Same Day”. And there’s still a growth curve going on, as his ability to pen slower tempos continues to improve.
It’s actually not a bad point of entry to J Mascis, at least in terms of getting a full range of style. I’ll still take Where You Been? to my desert island, but there are worse albums to be stranded with than More Light