Anyone familiar with the 1988 film Police Academy 5: Assignement Miami Beach, will surely agree that the old maxim “If ain’t broke don’t fix it”, is one of life’s truer wisdoms. Unluckily for fans of wise-cracking Mahoney, producers of the Police Academy series were too short-sighted to adhere to it. Luckily for Dinosaur Jr. fans, whilst J.Mascis may have lost sight of it for a short period, he’s largely maintained faith in an exceptional guitar talent, a perfect accompanying voice and a seemingly effortless knack for great song writing.
After a much publicised break-up and lengthy seperation, 2007’s Beyond saw the original line-up of Mascis, Lou Barlow and drummer Murph re-unite to produce one of the year’s standout records, picking up the powerful sound that always saw them stand apart from the Grunge crowd they were often unfairly and lazily lumped in with almost 20 years previously. Now, with the three still in happy harmony it seems, they offer us the gift of “Farm” - essentially more of the same and praise be to that.
Less an axe, more an entire tool shed, the guitar in the hands of Mascis is always a pleasure to behold. Just 10 seconds of opener Pieces is all it takes to reassure us we are in familiar territory, with the Mascis guitar taking centre stage, countered by his subtle voice and the bass and drums of Lou Barlow and Murph not shirking back-up responsibility. The feelgood I Want You To Know, bounces along with a singalong chorus that has potential for serious live favourite. Ocean In The Way slows down the tempo, but keeps the effects pedals down to sound like a fuzzed up Neil Young. Lou steps up for Your Weather, I’ve said it before and it’s undoubtedly an obvious observation, but a Barlow song on a Dinosaur Jr. record always sound like Sebadoh as played by, well, Dinosaur Jr… which, well, rocks.
The wah’d guitar that screams over the intro lets us know that it’s Mascis back at the controls for Over It. Close-to-8-minuter Said The People darkens the mood, whilst the funky riff of See You picks it back up again. Lou’s given the honour of rounding it all off with Imagination Blind, a suitable stomper bringing the curtain down on yet another solid offering from the thankfully unbroken and unfixed Dinosaur Jr.