Thursday, May 19, 2011

Thurston Moore: "Demolished Thoughts" (album review)

There can be little doubt of the impact Sonic Youth's Thurston Moore has had on the direction of modern rock.  Team him up with another icon of alternative, Beck, and you have lofty expectations to live up to on the new album Demolished Thoughts (out May 24th).

This is definitely not a Sonic Youth record.  Moore, with producer Beck's influence, has taken a much more introspective approach, trading the boundary-pushing dissonance in for plaintive acoustic guitars and delicate string arrangements.

The album opener "Benediction" foreshadows what's to come.  Violin and simple guitar parts serve as the support for Moore's hushed, intimate vocal delivery.  Likewise, "Illiminine" excels because of its subtle nature.

The album standout is "Circulation".  Despite the un-amped nature of the arrangements, Moore manages to create a song with incredible intensity, without needing to crank the volume.

Moore's compulsion to push is sometimes too much to resist though.  "Mina Loy" has an exotic undercurrent flowing through it.  Others excursions are not as successful.  The sprawling "In Silver Rain With a Paper Key", for example, fails to spark the imagination.  The noodling on "Orchard Street" is a little too indulgent to swallow.  The lengthy introduction to "Blood Never Lies" makes one believe the song would have been better kept as an instrumental rather than have vocals disrupt the vibe part way through.

Thurston Moore solo albums are always a welcome detour from the Sonic Youth bombast, and Demolished Thoughts is no exception.  No, not everything works perfectly, but much of the beauty of Moore's work is his fearlessness, and that's on display once again.

Best tracks: "Circulation", "Benediction"

Track listing for Demolished Thoughts:
  • Benediction
  • Illuminine
  • Circulation
  • Blood Never Lies
  • Orchard Street
  • In Silver Rain With a Paper Key
  • Mina Loy
  • Space
  • January
Thurston Moore's website

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