Review: Dinosaur Jr.
Thu Jun 18 2009
Time Out Ratings<strong>Rating: </strong>4/5
Since reunions are ubiquitous these days, it's worth clarifying: What exactly should we ask of a band returning from the grave? Farm, Dinosaur Jr.'s second full-length since its original lineup re-formed in '05, just might be the gold standard. On one hand, the album couldn't sound less surprising; on the other, it's hard to imagine it coming off as any more solid and enjoyable.Farm proves that there's no shame in picking up right where you left off, as long as you do it with conviction.
Dino frontman J Mascis's many talents have rarely been captured so vividly as they are on Farm's first two tracks, "Pieces" and "I Want You to Know." Both perfectly sum up the blissfully fuzzed-out style Mascis has been honing for more than two decades. The former song deftly balances razor-sharp melodic contours with freedom-rock catharsis worthy of Neil Young, while the latter takes a groovier route to grunge-pop heaven. Here and elsewhere, Mascis's inimitable twang floats beautifully above the gritty murk.
The guitarist has never shied away from excess, and some selections here (e.g., the seven-minute-plus ballad "Said the People") suffer from solipsistic bloat. But a few compelling curveballs—including the surprisingly metallic "I Don't Wanna Go There" and two strong tunes by formerly estranged bassist Lou Barlow—balance out a killer set that other would-be comebackers would do well to study.