This is Thurston Moore‘s third album since The Eternal, the final (so far) Sonic Youth album. 2011’s Demolished Thoughts was acoustic folk, while last year’s Chelsea Light Moving band album was full of heavy pounding riffs. Here, though his band includes Debbie Googe of My Bloody Valentine, he gets back to a more familiar sound – the sound of his old band.
The album appears at first to be less sprawling and more focused than some Sonic Youth albums, featuring only eight tracks. But the eight tracks featured here pack quite a bit in, many of them running to six minutes in length or longer. The Best Day opens with its best song, Speak To The Wild has all the hallmarks of a noughties SY guitar epic, ringing, clean guitars, a strong melody and an understated, vaguely threatening ‘vibe’. It would slot in easily on Murray Street or Sonic Nurse. Forevermore, which follows lasts for eleven minutes and despite a decent melody, has really no need to last so long.
The incessant ringing guitars on Tape chime away aimlessly, making this track something of a misfire. The title track represents a distinct improvement, a proper rocking tune with some great guitar work by Moore. Detonation is the punkiest moment here, barrelling along, echoing eighties-era, scary Sonic Youth though it’s a lot more melodic. Moore shows a real flair for melody on this album, there is hardly a discordant moment to be found here. Vocabularies is the type of track Thurston Moore seems to toss out effortlessly. Instrumental Grace Lake hits pretty and hits hard in equal measures, a seven minute guitar feast, where Moore, aided by James Sedwards picks out some pretty patterns before unleashing feedback-laden licks. Germs Burn is a pretty epic way to finish the album, another guitar masterclass with Moore ranting over it.
If anyone is entitled to sound like Sonic Youth it’s Thurston Moore. It’s by no means as thrilling as the sludgy riffs on Chelsea Light Moving, but certainly does nothing to tarnish his legacy. For those mourning the demise of Sonic Youth, The Best Day will help.
1. Speak To The Wild
4. The Best Day
7. Grace Lake
8. Germs Burn