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Trees Outside The Academy

Trees Outside The Academy is a masterclass of prog drugginess, brimming with sweet melodies and lullaby choruses.

Rating: 8 / 10

Ed Byrne, 08 Oct 2007

For an art-rock ascetic, Sonic Youth’s Thurston Moore sure likes to cut loose now and then. Last year’s hook-infused Rather Ripped saw the NYC noize kings delivering a suite of surprisingly deft indie moves. Moore’s first solo LP in a decade cuts an even more conciliatory dash: swaddled in quietly ebbing guitars and smoky vocals, Trees Outside the Academy is a masterclass of prog drugginess, brimming with sweet melodies and lullaby choruses.

You’ll get the idea from opener, ‘Frozen GTR’, a mellow strummer which conjures images of Moore sitting bow-legged, on the grass, possibly within distance of a campfire. Later, there are excursions into Nirvana-tinged orch-pop (with string swells from violinist Samara Lubelski) and some languid shoe-gaze solos courtesy of Dinosaur Jr’s J.Mascis.

Still, it’s not all coos and sighs: closer ‘Thurston@13’ is foot-to-the-floor experimental craziness, a found-sound treatment, which Moore put together as a teenager. Listen to it twice and your ears may start to bleed. Of course, if you’re a Sonic Youth fan, that’s probably just the way you like it.

Rating: 8 / 10
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