Album: Sonic Youth
Murray Street, Geffen
Friday 07 June 2002
Murray Street is the location of Sonic Youth's Echo Canyon Studio, in lower Manhattan, adjacent to what is now known as ground zero; deprived of access to it for several weeks after 11 September, the group had plenty of time to mull things over before returning to commit these pieces to tape. The result is their most focused, approachable album in more than a decade, since the days of Daydream Nation and The Whitey Album, though it's doubtful whether that's due as much to the terrorist attacks as to the helping hand of the avant-rock omnipresence Jim O'Rourke, now promoted to fully fledged fifth band member.
Though employing much the same battery of scrubbed rhythm guitars, methodical beats and creative atonality as before, these seven tracks sound more organised than usual and seem to possess a more friendly harmonic consciousness than one expects from Sonic Youth. "Rain on Tin" is typical in the way it starts speculatively, with orderly, decorative interplay of guitar arpeggios, then rises to a pitch of dissonant clangour before eventually departing with a polite swagger of pirouetting fretwork. Deceptive restraint is the album's defining characteristic, its harsher passages smuggled in under cover of pleasing chord-structures: tracks such as "The Empty Page" and "Karen Revisited" potter along happily in the manner of early Quicksilver, Velvet Underground or Television, before being sundered by a monolithic single-discord barrage or a shower of piercing high-register shards, leaving gaping fissures in songs that seek to deal intelligently with issues of dislocation and regeneration. Their best album? Sounds like it.
film Sex scene trailer sees a shirtless Jamie Dornan turn up the heat
Maisie Williams single-handedly rises to the challengeTV
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Venezuela Expo Tattoo 2015: Extreme body art from 'Vampire Woman' to 109mm earlobes
- 2 Saudi preacher who 'raped and tortured' his five -year-old daughter to death is released after paying 'blood money'
- 3 Ball pool for adults opens in London
- 4 Amal Clooney gives excellent response to fashion question at European Court of Human Rights
- 5 Rashida Jones speaks out against male-centric porn saying 'women should have sex and feel good about it'
Venezuela Expo Tattoo 2015: Extreme body art from 'Vampire Woman' to 109mm earlobes
Game of Thrones really doesn't want Danny Dyer - EastEnders star rejected three times
Game of Thrones season 5 trailer: The first full-length look is here
Sia apologises for 'Elastic Heart' music video that sees Shia LaBeouf wrestle 12-year-old Maddie Ziegler
The secret joke hidden in Silence of the Lambs' most famous line
9 reasons Greece's experiment with the radical left is doomed to failure
Have we reached 'peak food'? Shortages loom as global production rates slow
Stephen Fry explains what he would say if he was 'confronted by God'
Greece elections: Syriza and EU on collision course after election win for left-wing party
British grandmother Lindsay Sandiford faces execution by firing squad in Indonesia
Liberal Democrat minister defends comments suggesting immigration causes pub closures