Band reunions practically never work. Some bands struggle at filling voids and get really desperate (shoutout to that, uh, bold TV show aimed at finding a new frontman for INXS after the death of Michael Hutchence). Others fail at the actual “getting back together” part, like The Cars or The Smiths. And even when they do get together, the music is often a shell of what it once was, as is the case with Pixies and Smashing Pumpkins.
So when Amherst slack-rock gods Dinosaur Jr. reunited in 2005 with their original lineup of J. Mascis, Lou Barlow and Murph, no one paying attention really expected anything good.
What followed was something extraordinary: the band in peak form, making some of their best music, a magnificent late-career renaissance that harkened back to their brilliant trilogy of ’80s records. The apex of this renaissance is Farm, which turns 10 today.
Farm followed 2007’s damn respectable first reunion effort, Beyond, and it doubled down on the riffs and sticky melodies Dinosaur Jr. made their name on, offering delectable bites of guitar rock on par with their best early work.
Songs like “There’s No Here” and “Over It” are electric, with Mascis’s nimble guitar work complemented perfectly by Barlow’s grounded bass lines and Murph’s crashing drums. “Pieces” is a straightforward rocker that wouldn’t sound out of place on You’re Living All Over Me.
The pace slows down on songs like the brilliant “Plans,” which sports some of Barlow’s most heartfelt backing melodies behind the meandering lyrics Mascis tenderly whimpers out. The solo on “I Don’t Wanna Go There” is glorious; a guitar exercise evoking the best of Crazy Horse.
Of course, if I had to pick a highlight, it’d be “I See You,” which eases up on the fuzz for maybe the prettiest, sparkliest riff Mascis has ever strung through his guitar, not breaking the spell for almost 6 lovely minutes.
Farm is filled with moments like these, where Barlow, Mascis and Murph get on the same page and create something amazing. Ten years out, it represents an immortal band refusing to accept themselves as a legacy act or fluke, and it sounds just as timeless.