Sonic Youth
The Destroyed Room B-Sides and Rarities


3.0
good

Review

by John Cruz USER (88 Reviews)
December 12th, 2006 | 22 replies | 5,539 views


Release Date: 2008 | Tracklist


9 of 9 thought this review was well written

A Sonic Youth b-sides and rarities album would seem to be a curious proposition for anyone besides the well initiated and most adventurous among us. Not a conventional rock n roll band by any standard, this highly influential Alt/Indie group has spent the better part of 25 years churning out tunes that range from experimental to noise pop to alternative jams, and "music" that can often only be described as dissonant and weird. With occasional stabs at the mainstream (for Sonic Youth, at least) that left long time fans crying foul while not gaining them any new ones, its been a long road for this now middle aged group of noise makers. Call it art rock, indie, or simply a band playing music for musicians, it can't be denied that the 'Youth's brand of guitar driven, feedback laden, sometimes incoherent doodling has led to countless bands picking up where the noise leaves off and carrying the whole thing forward to places Sonic Youth would never care go, or even consider. And "The Destroyed Room" is typical Sonic Youth fare as it is comprised of previously released, hard to find, and little heard material from the past decade or so. Interesting, yes. Compelling in places, sure. 100% Sonic Youth, you betcha'.

If you are familiar with Sonic Youth you know they are no stranger to the instrumental. As in no vocals, instrumental pieces. And that's what pretty much makes up this entire album. We get the 10 minute alt rock epic "Fire Engine Dream" to start things off that features lots of twisted indie rock leanings with its tinkling, distorted guitars and bass heavy rthymn, the broken beat start/stop styling's of "Fauxhemiens", again carried forward by the bass of Kim Gordan while guitarist Thurston Moore lays down some interesting improvised guitar work, the electronic sizzle of "Campfire" (yes, it literally sounds like a guitar/synthesizer frying in some high tech pan), and the lovely, subdued, almost new age like "Loop Cat", all ambient doodling and far off droning. Sure, in between all this lofty music making their is the 1 minute acoustic blues of "Razor Blade" to consider featuring Gordon on wispy vocals, and the minimalist "Blink", again with Gordan lending dreamy vocal work. But the latter passes so quick you hardly even notice it and the former features talk/sung vocals that sound as if they are coming from down some distant hallway, adding to the instrumental tone of the entire album.

If the album has a singular strength its the fact that it all sounds very uniform, the pieces practically intertwining with one another as one track moves to the next. This is for all intents and purposes is a mellow Sonic Youth album, almost "indie ambient" if I can use that phrase. The closest we come to a conventional rock track is the diverse and varied "Kim's Chords" that features a typical 4/4 beat and some neat guitar work by Moore, and the very beginning of the closing track "The Diamond Sea" that for the first 10 minutes of this 26 minute song (yes, i said 26 minutes) sounds like any other alt rock song of the past ten years. Then it goes all Sonic Youth on us for the last 16 minutes with wall of sound guitar distortion, feedback, ambient noise, looped drums, and a rising and falling musical style that is interesting at best and just a bit too self indulgent for its own lengthy good at its core.

Whether or not "interesting" music makes for interesting or entertaining listening I suppose is up to the listener. This is soulless music that somehow has soul in spite of itself, organized noise that somehow comes together to make a cohesive whole, broken bits and pieces that when all put together makes a very clear picture that is less puzzle and more like a little shambling masterpiece. If you look closely at this albums cover you can see what this album sounds like. Carefully disorganized, everything a mess yet somehow in its place. Deconstruction with a purpose and a method to its madness, its as if to say "we meant to do this". And its done so well however messy and trashed, its hard to complain as it somehow makes perfect sense. The more you look, the more you listen, the more you look, the more you listen. And the more it all falls into place. Sonic Youth have made a small legendary career out of making small musical messes that have somehow reached the level of small masterpieces, and this album of odds and ends is no different. It seeps into the psyche in bits and pieces and comes out the other end whole. Interesting, to be sure. Anything more will be found wherever you allow the music to take you and your imagination.



Recent reviews by this author
Big Country The CrossingVan Halen Fair Warning
U2 No Line on the HorizonBruce Springsteen Magic
The Smashing Pumpkins ZeitgeistBon Jovi Lost Highway
user ratings (52)
Chart.
3.2
good
other reviews of this album
Ephex (3.5)
...


Comments:Add a Comment 
The Jungler
December 12th 2006



4827 Comments


God I need this.
This review lost all goodness in my eyes after you called The Diamond Sea just any other alt rock song.
But seriously, great review, try leaving some new releases for the rest of us why don't cha' :p

Two-Headed Boy
December 12th 2006



4527 Comments


I'm a fan of the SYRs, so this sounds promising. Sonic Youth were very strong instrumentalists.

Very good review, you held up your opinions nicely.

Hatshepsut
December 12th 2006



1997 Comments


Great review. I should probably get into Sonic Youth some more...I've listened to Washing Machine and Sister and have Daydream Nation but haven't really gotten absorbed into them yet. I probably should, no?

Zebra
Moderator
December 12th 2006



2647 Comments


Good review JXD, it was nice and brief.
I'm on and off with Sonic Youth. One day I'll listen to two or three of their albums and the next day their music will just leave me cold. I wasn't a big fan of Rather Ripped so I think I'll skip this one.

JohnXDoesn't
December 12th 2006



1247 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

thanks guys. i really enjoyed this album. i'll be returning to it. as said, primarily instrumental. as i listened to it this morning while waking up i fell into a brief sleep again and i don't know if this ever happens to you, but the music crept into my dreams. i could hear the music, but i was dreaming. needless to say it inspired some weird visions. blurry, ill defined, mysterious, twisted, dark rooms. the best i can describe it. couldn't really give it a higher rating as it is a compilation of sorts and doesn't really reach a level of greatness, but its very good for what it is, IMO.

Eliminator
December 13th 2006



2067 Comments


Word.

AlienEater
December 13th 2006



716 Comments


I really want this

Horrorshow34
December 14th 2006



110 Comments


Is that a Jeff Wall photo on the cover?

Eliminator
December 14th 2006



2067 Comments


Yeah, it is.

Horrorshow34
December 14th 2006



110 Comments


Thanks, I need to start building my Sonic Youth collection more. I only own 'Daydream Nation' and 'Goo'

Ephex
December 15th 2006



730 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

i got this yesterday.... it rocks my socks. It makes Goo and Daydream Nation sound like bubblegum pop

Eliminator
December 16th 2006



2067 Comments


Haha.

Two-Headed Boy
December 16th 2006



4527 Comments


rocks my socks


Neoteric
December 16th 2006



3243 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

I want this.

wisechick80
February 2nd 2007



12 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Sonic Youth consistenly create experimental genuis on record! I LOVE it! Great review too!

JohnXDoesn't
February 2nd 2007



1247 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

thanks dude, glad you liked it....and yeah this album is pretty damn intoxicating...

Ephex
April 13th 2007



730 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Why is there a song called 'Is It My Body?' in the tracklist

JohnXDoesn't
April 13th 2007



1247 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

'orly? :confused:

Aficionado
November 5th 2007



1027 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

This sounds intriguing.

Yyy
November 5th 2007



289 Comments


its good
not intriguing though



You have to be logged in to post a comment. Login | Create a Profile





FAQ // STAFF & CONTRIBUTORS // SITE FORUM // CONTACT US

Bands: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


Site Copyright 2005-2013 Sputnikmusic.com
All Album Reviews Displayed With Permission of Authors | Privacy Policy