When the original Dinosaur Jr. lineup reunited a few years back and recorded the album Beyond, guitarist J Mascis, bassist Lou Barlow, and drummer Murph fell quickly back into step, making music that—strictly on a textural level—felt like it could’ve been released immediately after Bug, 20 years prior. The trio’s new Farm surpasses Beyond, inasmuch as the songs now match the strength of the sound. After the solidly rowdy opening love song “Pieces,” Farm hits an early high on track two, “I Want You To Know,” a noisy country-rocker marked by a staggering guitar riff and drums that pummel away like a rapid exchange of cannon-fire. From there, Farm continues to present Dinosaur Jr. in both destroyer and dreamweaver modes (often within the same song), putting across a Southern-tinged crunch that My Morning Jacket would kill to replicate. Hooky ragers like “Over It” and “Friends” combine murk and sheer force in a way few post-grunge bands have been able to master, while “Said The People” shows how “laidback” and “earsplitting” can coexist. Mascis has recorded plenty of good songs without the backing of Barlow’s rattling minor-key bass or Murph’s tumble of cymbal, kick, and tom. But Mascis’ creaky voice and roaring guitar sound properly mighty in exactly this context—and Farm sounds like the best alt-rock album that 1993 forgot.
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