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Dinosaur Jr. Farm Review

Album. Released 2009.  

BBC Review

Farm builds on their fearsome reputation rather than diminishing it.

Julian Marszalek 2009

Received wisdom has it that, beyond the initial tour or one-off gig, reunions offer little more than a chance to briefly re-live former glories, give fans who missed their favourite bands the first time around a chance to see what all the fuss was about and for the group in question to pay some outstanding tax bills. And yet, as demonstrated by Farm – the second, yes second release since their improbable reunion – Dinosaur Jr do much to spit in the face of received wisdom whilst raising the bar for any alt rock act contemplating hitting the comeback trail.

Proving that the excellence of 2007's Beyond was no fluke, Dinosaur Jr are actually improving with age. With the internecine squabbling that ripped them asunder two decades ago firmly in check, the trio of singer-guitarist J Mascis, bassist Lou Barlow and drummer Murph have used their previous album as a springboard and, if anything, Farm builds on their fearsome reputation rather than diminishing it.

As the opening bars of Pieces tear through the speakers, there's a comfort to be had hearing Mascis' wailing guitar running through a terrace of Marshall stacks, his somnambulistic whine offset by Barlow's powerful 4-string chords and Murph's relentless pounding. Over It deploys Mascis' tried-and-tested wah-wah but as evidenced on the muscular grind of I Don't Wanna Go There, this is far from a cynical retread; the guitars fizz with an urgency that's both infectious and palpable and the extended coda takes to the skies and soars.

Of most interest are the album's two most considered moments. Said The People and Plans – both ballads though after a fashion – offer a tenderness not usually associated with these noiseniks and Mascis' plaintive cry of ''Save me!'' on the former tugs relentlessly on the heartstrings.

A rarity amongst those who choose to reunite, Dinosaur Jr not only set the standard in terms of musical quality, but they actually make you look forward to what's going to come next. Bring it on!

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