Sonic Youth - The Eternal
Sonic Youth has been long admired for not only their huge contribution to shaping the new music landscape, but also for their fierce dedication to making music their way. That's why it's good to see the band return to an indie label (Matador) for their forthcoming studio album The Eternal (out June 9th). From my best count this is the band's 16th studio record in their near 30-year history.
The move back to an indie seems to have revitalized the band. Scaling back on the sonic experiments, the band actually rocks out on The Eternal. Punk and grunge elements weave their way back into the mix. The result is a Sonic Youth that sounds beefier and more muscular than they have in a long time.
The Kim Gordon-sung "Sacred Trickster" kicks things off with a bang. It's a Goo-era sounding noise rocker that pushes all the right buttons.
Just because they're louder doesn't mean the boundary-testing falls to the wayside. "Anti-Orgasm" for example is a punishing bang and wail, that slips into a Sci Fi themed back and forth, before culminating in a rocket lift-off climax.
The bass and drums are more distinctive in the mix than we've heard for a while too. Songs like "Antenna", "What We Know", and "Calming The Snake" have a hollow metronomic drum beat and a loose bassline, which creates a Joy Division feel that lingers in the shadows of those tracks.
One of the standout tracks is "Poison Arrow". The song sounds as though the Velvet Underground circa 1970 was teleported into 2009 and told to write a pop song. Another killer is "Thunderclap for Bobby Pyn", written for the late Darby Crash of The Germs.
The band even ventures into classic rock territory with "Walkin Blue". Okay, classic rock as warped through the minds of Thurston Moore, Kim Gordon, and company.
The album closes with the near 10-minute opus "Massage the History". Gordon sings in hushed tones while a whale call of a guitar weeps behind her.
On The Eternal Sonic Youth sound more vital and vibrant than they have in a long time. They have an ability to take chances, experiment, yet keep the songs moving forward, ensuring no one number wears out its welcome.
Sonic Youth are back in a big big way.
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on 2009-05-06 dscanland Said:
By all means! Love to hear what you think of it.
on 2009-05-06 tosnob Said:
It's their best album in a long long time. I've got a review coming soon if you'd like it.
on 2009-05-05 dscanland Said:
Any Sonic Youth fans out there? I'm not a big fan but I'm actually excited about The Eternal.