I Farm - IV (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

I Farm

IV (2006)

Go Kart

Punk veterans I Farm's fourth full-length, appropriately titled IV, comes without a word of hype, likely as the band hasn't gained the fanbase or notoriety of their peers in No Use for a Name, Millencolin, etc., but whereas those bands' latest albums have failed to progress them into any favorable musical territory, IV is possibly I Farm's most creative and energized effort yet.

What the trio provides on IV is `80s hardcore punk rock that isn't really `80s hardcore punk rock, as it consistently refuses to stay within those confines (though the pale artwork would certainly lead you to believe it's derived straight from that era). Sure, when the vocals are screamed they sound an awful lot like Jason Navarro's (Suicide Machines) similar moments (especially "Syntax Error"), but the music is otherwise frequently jumping around left and right. "To Lose Tourette's" is quite noisy in its schizophrenic guitars, as it toys with time signature changes and an indie rock flair, providing an angularity hardcore punk fans rarely hear in the genre; there's even a smoothly sung line in the chorus, which works wonderfully. "Land of the Lost" is fast-paced, Propagandhi-style skatepunk, while "Rayuela" treads an interesting indie rock / skatepunk line, with frenetic, intricate guitar work and double-time moments. There's even the instrumental "Dolphin Fight," the opening guitar riff of which seriously reminds me of Moneen's "The Frightening Reality..." for some stupid reason (I'm going to guess the effect and placement). "This Is Not a Test" has plenty of pure rock-based moments as well. Closer "Knucklehead" is the most straightforward I Farm gets; it's a great, intense, 40-some odd-second blast of catchy hardcore punk.

The press release is sure to put forth mentions of the word "metal" and at one comparison, Slayer, but frankly, I'm not hearing it. The band certainly exuberates a certain heaviness at points, and the guitars are often well thought out, but never to that point. "Irrational Number" is certainly big, loud, and noisy, but I don't know if that'd quite be it either.

Bill Stevenson tones down his usual powerful bombast at Blasting Room Studios in exchange for a more modest, only slightly raw sound that compliments the band well, similar to Only Crime's last effort.

IV just seems a bit too jumpy to really floor the listener. However, it's hard not to take notice of the chances taken, which tend to work well on some songs, but again, just not to the point that creates a more powerful, easily embraced record.

Land of the Lost