This may be going out on a limb here, but Dinosaur Jr.'s reunion album in 2007, Beyond was one of the best albums of said year, if not one of the best reunion albums ever. Bands reuniting is always seen as a lame cash-in attempt by artists going bankrupt, but with Beyond it felt more like Dinosaur Jr. were making a serious attempt at creating a great album, which they did. Some may call me crazy, but I felt that they sounded just as good as they did in their peak years in the late 80's. Now what about the follow up album? Is it just as good as it's predecessor? Absolutely. In fact, it's even better.
What exactly are we to expect from Dinosaur Jr.'s latest offering? For the most part, it's their signature style of alternative rock backed by that signature "fuzzy" guitar tone, J Mascis' crooning vocals and tons of solos. Dinosaur Jr. have been comfortable playing this style for years and they proved they can still sound just as good as they did in the old days with Beyond, and it's the same case with Farm, only they do take a few steps outside the box. The three longer tracks on the album ("Plans," "Said The People" and "I Don't Want to Go There") are where you see them exploring their boundaries. "Plans" is the most accessible of the trio as it begins slow but then turns into a nice, groovy rock tune powered by a steady guitar-line. "Said The People" approaches ballad territory and carries a bit of a blues vibe to it with the delay effects used on the instruments. It's the most melancholy song on the album, that's for sure. "I Don't Want to Go There" is one of the band's most impressive cuts to date. This near nine-minute track begins like a normal Dinosaur Jr. song but then erupts to a elongated instrumental in the second half, featuring one of Mascis' wildest solos. The song basically turns into a jam session between the three-piece with Lou Barlow striking a few bass chords and Murph's cymbals crashing adding a perfect accent to the drumming in this song.
While those are the strongest tracks on the album, the rest of Farm is certainly to be noted too. It's one really long and consistent album that's showing a band comfortable playing the music that they do. Tracks like "Pieces" exemplify their style of noisy guitars combined with catchy hooks to make the song something you wont forget. The band also explores their pop sensibilities on "Over It" with the wah effect used magnificently in the intro and anthem-like structure. "Ocean in the Way" carries a slower, relaxing vibe to it that would be a perfect soundtrack to a summer night. "See You" is very reminiscent to the sound they had on Beyond with it's similar guitar melody. Lou Barlow's songs ("Your Weather" and "Imagination Blind") are also pretty interesting where we hear a different vocal delivery with Barlow singing and Mascis using less of the noisy guitars in favor of a more clearer sound. The two tracks are also more bass-driven, coincidentally enough.
Farm is evidence of a band that has grown in age without their musical abilities declining. Dinosaur Jr. aren't exactly attempting to be the most innovative band in the world but that doesn't stop them from being extremely talented musicians and excellent songwriters, as well. What they're doing is just building and improving on the sound that they created over a decade and a half ago and proving that they still have what it takes to make an excellent album. Most fans will know what to expect when going into this album but that hasn't stopped them from enjoying the band.
9.0 / 10
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