Since their formation in 1984 Dinosaur Jr have won over music legends from Sonic Youth to Kurt Cobain, and helped inspire the grunge scene. Key members include Barlow of Sebadoh and perfectionist J Mascis. Their best album, “You’re Living all Over Me”, was released in 1987 and was characterized by chugging, droning guitar and heavy feedback. These are some of Dinosaur Jr’s best traits, and unfortunately they are lacking on newer albums “Beyond” and “Farm.” (If you see Dinosaur Jr live these days, the new stuff is mostly what you’ll hear). The absence of fuzz and dissonance makes it hard for me to turn on “Farm” when I could be spinning “You’re Living All Over Me”. Nevertheless, I don’t want to say Dinosaur Jr is milking the legacy, as many of the band’s strengths are present on the new album. “Farm” incorporates the melodic hooks that recruited Dinosaur Jr’s original cult following, as well Mascis’ distinct vocal and guitar style. Mascis has a talent for singing about the sappiest things while keeping songs fresh and strong, which is especially true on this album. “Farm” is more radio friendly, straight up rock than past efforts. While the new direction lacks the aesthetic that made me fall in love with Dinosaur Jr in the first place, that doesn’t stop this from being a solid rock album.
-DJ Special K