|By Zach Patterson||Tuesday, 14 Jul 2009|
When Good-Evil last checked in with Dinosaur Jr., it was the warm-up concerts for Farm. At the time, they weren’t really playing anything off the new album aside from a song or two, so I hadn’t heard much other than the free song download they gave out at the concert. Still, after Beyond, I had full confidence that this would be an excellent follow up. As it turns out, this is another amazingly solid album that again has
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that certain timeless sound that they captured on Beyond. The big difference between this album and Beyond is that Farm seems to have a more subdued feel to it. In many songs, it feels quite introspective. This isn’t meant to be a bad thing either, but there is a definite difference in the tone of Farm, compared to Beyond. The opener “Pieces”, while a pretty upbeat open to the album, also has a certain somber and bittersweet feel to the vocals. It also just feels very smooth and natural as the song transitions from the chorus into guitar solos and thundering drums, every part just feels like it belongs and merges together so effortlessly, something that seems to be a common theme on the entire album. While this is another great album, and most of the great things I said about Beyond also can be said here, this album just seems more organic, more natural, more relaxed. Take the song “Plans” for example, which is another slow ballad of sorts that is just so perfect. It’s everything that is great about Dinosaur Jr., from the wistful sadness of J. Mascis voice, to the emotive guitar solos that bring the music alive. And just when you think the song is winding down, the band continues to jam out till the song nearly hits 7 minutes. While some bands can “jam out” the end of a song till they beat it dead, Dinosaur Jr. seems to be playing with a live concert mentality on Farm, where every song the audience is hoping it will last a little longer as they sip their beers and revel in greatness of an amazing live band. “Said the People” is another similar song in that it is a slow ballad that’s definitely got a bit of a sad feel, but as the song evolves out through the 7 minute mark, there’s a certain desperate triumphant-ness to the music as you get some simply amazing guitar solos as the song just jams on and on. The goosebumps I get as the song hits the 4 minute mark are something that not many bands can do. The music, the guitar, the bass, and drums are just full of personality and emotion, and it’s something that’s hard to describe without just hearing it. Perhaps the album’s most triumphant and amazing song is “I Don’t Wanna Go There”, which clocks in at nearly 9 minutes, and is by far the most rocking and jam-friendly song on the album. Check out this live performance of the song made for pitchfork.tv: It’s probably my favorite song of the year, and oddly enough, the live version, as good as it is, probably doesn’t even do the studio cut of it justice. It’s just a great song to sit back, close your eyes, take in a beautiful summer day, and enjoy. It’s definitely
one of the 9 minute songs that you’ll never notice is that long. It jumps from some heavier parts, to a little shredding, to more guitar work by J. that sounds so impressive, yet effortless. Then the song keeps going, and in the back of my mind, I hope it just keeps on going. Great song just to live in the moment of it. While I’ve spotlighted a few songs here in particular, the album also features some nice variety as well. The Barlow-sung songs provide a nice change of base from J’s overly emotionally crooning, and as with the last album, one is much better than the other (“Your Weather” is the winner this round). There’s also some playful songs, such as Over It, which has a goofy wanky guitar intro that makes me smile every time and really lets Murph let loose on the drums. I just really love this album. There’s a certain sincerity and comfortableness to it that so reassuring. It’s decidedly less bombastic than their Beyond, but that’s not a bad thing. This isn’t a retread of their old material or some strange new direction. This album is an evolution of their past material that showcases an incredibly skilled band in their prime, performing some fantastic studio recordings that have all the feel of an amazing live show. While Beyond was one of my favorite albums of 2007, Farm is easily in consideration for the top albums of 2009 in what is increasingly becoming a wonderful year for new music.