Dinosaur Jr. - Farm
Michael James Hall 26/06/2009
Teased by the tuneful, sun-drenched sludge of lead single 'Over It' the classic original line-up of Dinosaur (J Mascis, Lou (Sebadoh) Barlow and Murph) return to the slack as fuck sonic assault sound that brought them such acclaim and cult status with records like 'Bug' and 'You're Living All Over Me' so many torn checked shirts ago.
Opening with the chugging, squalling sprawl of 'Pieces' the trademark palette of overdriven guitar, thudding two-chord basslines, precision-tight drumming and post-Neil Young, emotionally disassociated vocals is instantly introduced, and is immediately welcoming.
Despite its instant, slamming aggression this is a record drenched in caramel melodies, emotive changes and don't care-cool.
'Ocean In The Way' is a slamming, big-riff wielding beast dealing with Mascis' usual interests of social and emotional awkwardness - his vocals even reduced to a wordless 'ma, ma, ma' chorus, the ultimate in grunting indifference.
Of the slower, more countrified tunes 'Plans' is a beauty - distortion fading into neat, tricky little clusters of notes dancing their way around Mascis' croak. It's sweet, sweet stuff.
Lou Barlow gets to sing and write a couple here, the great 'Your Weather' showing how much more of a cynical, abrasive composer he is in comparison to his bandmate. Savage lyrics like 'Her light may never shine on your filthy wall' complement a purposely awkward, bass-driven indie anthem.
'Said The People' harks back to the commercially friendly days of 'Green Mind' and 'Where You Been', it being a lengthy, folky, crunching ballad of great heart and great parts.
It's not the only epic found here though, with 'I Don't Wanna Go There', a disappointing, by-the-numbers solo-fest clocking in at eight, sadly numbing minutes.
It's a rare mis-step on an otherwise consistently bright and interesting record though, and it's more than made up for by Barlow's stomping closer 'Imagination Blind'.
So, a legendary band, a legendary line-up and a record that will undoubtedly please fans greatly. While it may not stick in the mind as instantly as much of their iconic early work it's the very definition of a great Grunge (yeah, I said it) record.
Long may they sludge.