Dinosaur Jr. is now widely recognized as one of the most significant American rock bands of all time; the sound they pioneered in the late-80s having permeated through the past 20 years. Preceding Nirvana by several years, they were instrumental in bringing the crashing sounds of lead guitar back to indie rock. It wasn’t just their signature metallic haze that made an impression on listeners; their effects-laden guitars were wrapped around some of the best songwriting of the decade. The first three albums — Dinosaur, You’re Living All Over Me and Bug — were cult masterpieces and when the original line up of Mascis, Barlow and drummer Murph re-formed in 2005 for select live dates it was apparent that the years apart had not eroded any of their vitality. In fact, many critics claimed their shows were even better than they used to be. It was natural, then, that the band would begin to work on new material.
With the release of Beyond in 2007, the band gave a hearty Marshall-driven “F**K YOU!” answer to any skeptics of the reformation. Restoring the sound established by the opening hat-trick gambit of Dinosaur, You’re Living All Over Me, and Bug, the Beyond record continued the band’s march into rock greatness by making old ears smile and new ears bleed afresh. And now there is Farm, Dinosaur Jr.’s first double LP and their fifth full length record by the original line-up — J Mascis, Lou Barlow, and Murph — released on their new label home Jagjaguwar.
If Beyond was Dinosaur Jr.’s return to form, Farm is proof that this band continues to deliver that which makes rock worth cranking to 11. At times wholly 70’s guitar-epic, at times perfect for sitting by a babbling brook with Joni and Neil, Farm encompasses Dinosaur Jr.’s signature palette – soaring and distorted guitar, unshakable hooks, honey-rich melodies – songs that get into your head and, bouncing around happily, stay there. The ear-catching “Plans” is nearly 7 minutes of classic whipped-topping rock dessert, while “I Don’t Wanna Go There” is a meat-and-potatoes main dish, mixing unapologetic lead guitar with straight-ahead delivery a la James Gang or Humble Pie. These two tunes round out twelve tracks propelled by the unique energy of one of America’s greatest living rock bands hitting their stride.