Sad admission: I am rather late to the Dinosaur Jr. party. A quick Google search yields lots of information about their glory days as influential indie icons. Unfortunately, that means very little to me – I’m sure the band has touched quite a bit of what I hear today, but it’s hard to tell now. Heck, I even missed out on their previous album, the relatively recent Beyond.
Well here I am now, rather cured of my mistakes and drooling for more thanks to the loud, brilliant and inspired Farm.
Farm kicks into gear right away with a quick drum flourish that brings in the guitars. Oh the guitars. Every song on the album will have you itching to find the nearest six-string and shred along with the band. J Mascis is a force of nature, pulling out the most powerful riffs in every song, before going into solos that would make Eddie Van Halen stop and listen.
It’s hard to pick out particular highlight songs because they all bring interesting solos and guitar patterns to the table. Opener “Pieces” starts things off right with a great punch of energy and a structure that refuses to surrender.
“Ocean in the Way” takes a slightly different pace, offering a slightly more swung feel, allowing for guitar exploration between nearly every phrase instead of in only one place. “Plans” starts slower and offers the most beautifully aching solo in years. Even the longest songs (“I Don’t Want to Go There” and “Said the People”) manage to remain engaging throughout the over seven minutes of play.
While the main focus is rightfully on the guitar sounds, a portion Farm’s success needs to be credited to the drums. Instead of just forming a foundation for J Mascis to lift his guitar solos, the percussive elements of each song allow for a personality to develop. Even further, the drummer is not afraid to add fills and personally expand a track.
This combination of instantly-memorable guitars and bold drums makes Farm a requirement for fans of rock. While there are lyrics and singing, the instruments steal the show here, forming their own poetic phrases. Listen for the guitars, get swept away by the whole experience and wonder why no one else in music is playing a guitar like Dinosaur Jr.