Sunday, July 05, 2009

Sonic Youth - The Eternal (Matador, 2009)

Venerable rock 'n' roll band Sonic Youth is "indie" once again, signing with Matador Records after a long term recording for the major label Geffen Records. In the end it really doesn't matter whom the group is recording for, they have their own personal sound which has developed over many years of touring and recording. If anything it's interesting how "un-radical" they sound now that the rest of the music world has caught on to their formula. But, with no need to prove themselves, they just continue to make excellent music. This is a consistently interesting album both lyrically and musically and should make both longtime fans and new converts happy. The music moves between poppy short pieces like Kim Gordon's short, sharp "Sacred Trickster" and "Leaky Lifeboat" which although dedicated to Gregory Corso, name checks some great Sun Ra album titles. They also spin out some longer improvisatory tunes like "Anti-Orgasm" which starts with a chant along chorus before evolving into a guitar freak out. "Walking Blue" is one of the most conventional tracks, the hooks it uses wouldn't sound out of place on a classic rock radio station. The album ends with the freaky and ominous "Massage the History" which takes things out on an exploratory note. I enjoyed this album quite a bit, the songs were lucid and interesting and the lyrics were passionate, poetic and even humorous. The music is quite accessible as well, making this a good place for listeners who are curious about the band to start.

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