Dinosaur Jr.

Farm (Jagjaguwar)

Phases & Stages

Dinosaur Jr.

Farm (Jagjaguwar)

Unlike contemporaries Sonic Youth, Dinosaur Jr. isn't trying to tighten up. The original Amherst, Mass., trio has mellowed with age, without compromising its sonic swell. Opener "Pieces" and follow-up "I Want You to Know" are impressive ramp-ups to their fifth album and Jagjaguwar debut. Lou Barlow's moodier turn on "Your Weather" is uncharacteristically Dino (hello Sebadoh) but works, then it's right back to the wah-wah on "Over It." The last half of Farm starts suffering from verse repetition, slower songs never matching the ballast of "Ocean in the Way." Farm does reach beyond 2007's Beyond: There's three-chord Dino fuzz but also an attempt at chiseling pop songs from Mascis' interminable solos, not just rote mirroring of their 1980s sound. Mascis' voice has finally matured, too, from adenoidal to medium-rare mumble. Looks like absence made the jams grow stronger.

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