- 01 Jun 11
Sonic Youth man shifts down a gear on sublime solo outing
Thurston Moore has spent three decades summoning fierce tempests of noise with Sonic Youth. Now, it seems, the storm has abated. Demolished Thoughts - the alt. rock icon's fourth solo album proper - is a work of great restraint and tender reflection. It's the sort of record that can only be made by men of a certain age, or experience. Moore, now 52, surveys the battlefield of his life, counting the cost of his victories and losses, sharing his hard-won wisdom.
The first sound you hear is the gentle strum of guitar that opens 'Benediction'. Soon it is joined by the waltzing violin of Samara Lubelski. There are traces here and in the following 'Illuminine' of the sweet sorrow that coursed through Elliott Smith's best work. Meanwhile, the much-overlooked Andrew Morgan is evoked in 'Blood Never Lies', the crisp jangle of guitar fringed with strings and soft backing vocals. 'Circulation' throbs with a greater sense of urgency, guitar rattling along, drums thudding hard, violin swelling ominously. With its silvery babble of guitar and feel of fuzzy-headed psychedelia, 'In Silver Rain With A Paper Key' signposts the shift towards the hazier, more instrumental final third of the album and the shimmering atmospherics of 'Mina Loy' and 'Space'.
Producer Beck Hansen has given the nine songs a warm, organic feel, with each instrument - be it the vibrant guitar of Moore, bass of Bram Inscore, or chirruping harp of Mary Lattimore - given ample space to luxuriate in. The unhurried pace, air of vulnerability and pure loveliness of Demolished Thoughts may take aback fans of Sonic Youth's more fractious delights. However, what's unsurprising is the consummate ease with which Moore has navigated towards calmer waters. Pay attention.