By Brad Halasz
Note to artists — CDs are a dying breed, so do the cover art right before you can’t do it at all. With Farm, their fifth studio release and first on Jagjaguwar, Dinosaur Jr. has answered this grim inevitability with tripped-out style.
Farm is a breath of fresh, psychedelically-charged, garage rock-fueled air. The cover is a magic realist’s dream and holds your attention like the grass people hold their charges. The art reflects the album’s sound, the distorted charge and drone of the rhythm guitar, overlaid with J Mascis’ clean and swirling post-classic rock, pre-grunge lead guitar. Through the chaos of the distortion come crisp and decisive soloes, lifting the music’s spirit and taking it to a higher place — just like the grass people take the kids out of the chaotic, industrialized world and show them some higher ground.
The raspy, laid back vocals of “There’s No Here,” the most guitar-heavy song on the disc, give the best juxtaposition of Dinosaur Jr.’s style. It is followed by the bouncy, light-hearted “See You,” which relies heavily on Mascis’ axe to bring the track to life.
Despite several line-up changes (Mascis is the only original member) and an average of one full-length studio album every five years, Dinosaur Jr. still have a respectable place in the rock and roll world — including its soon-to-be-classic cover art.