Thurston Moore
Trees Outside the Academy


3.5
great

Review

by The Katz brothers USER (183 Reviews)
September 29th, 2007 | 21 replies | 15,188 views


Release Date: 2007 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Sonic Youth guitarist teams up with violinist, as well as a couple of old friends, on first solo acoustic disc in years.

“What you’re about to hear is something extraordinary”

At 49 years old Thurston Moore is far from a young guy, but you really wouldn’t know it. In fact, he barely looks a day over 21. That being said, Trees Outside The Academy isn’t a youthful record. It doesn’t bubble with excitement or burn with the curiosity of a newfound freedom. It doesn’t sound like it was recorded by a 21 year old, but why would it? Why should it? Trees starts where Sonic Youth’s Murray Street and Sonic Nurse left off, an album full of dense, sprawling, guitar rock, surprisingly coy vocals and the same cocktail of influences its predecessors utilized so well. The big difference here is arrangements; the songs are mostly acoustic guitar-based, with the drumming of Sonic Youth’s Steve Shelley and the violin-stylings of Samara Lubelski rounding out the sound.

Honest James might be the album’s most accessible track. The song is held up by its original, introspective, and yet near-radio-ready guitar hook. Thurston’s vocals are subdued, with an underlying power. They come in 15 seconds past the 2 minute mark. Backed with a beautiful female voice, Thurston gives off a “One More Cup of Coffee” vibe, but the chord changes are far too dark, the vocals too longing. Yeah. Thurston certainly makes a good impression on a critical ear with the album’s first half; pop it’s not, but Trees Outside the Academy is certainly one of the more listenable efforts from its creator (and this is coming from a fan.) Granted, it’s far from the most interesting, but listenable is certainly an apt description. Then American Coffin comes along. Beginning with almost a full minute of free form noise before descending into another 3 of desolate piano playing, the song could easily frighten off the casual listener, but for others, could be the album’s saving grace. Regardless, Coffin, the album’s de facto centerpiece makes for a clear distinction between the albums fantastic opening half to its slightly less good (for lack of a better word) closing half.

Perhaps the second half of the CD’s best track comes in the form of the 6 minute long instrumental, Trees Outside The Academy. Thurston’s renowned guitar heroics are on full display here, but the real star of the show is [Dinosaur Jr’s] J Mascis, who makes his presence more than known with a bombastic guitar assault midway through the piece, and during an appropriately trudgey section of the song. The album was recorded in Mascis’ home studio, so it seems only fair that he put his own stamp on the record, in one way or another. Or perhaps the best song on the second half isn’t even a song at all. Thurston@13 certainly contradicts my introduction, a hilariously carefree look into the mind of the future Indie powerhouse before everything happened. Recorded on cassette tape and dug up decades later, 13 really proves how little Moore has aged over the years. He still has the same cool drawl, the same sharp wit, and apparently, the same need to entertain. Trees Outside the Academy, as a whole, is not the musician’s best work, but it’s worth the listen for anyone interested.

“What you have heard is me wasting time, again asking myself inside, ‘Why the *** am I doing this?’”

-Joe.



Recent reviews by this author
The Max Levine Ensemble OK SmartypantsAIDS Wolf Cities of Glass
Bloc Party IntimacyThe Cool Kids The Bake Sale
Madvillain Madvillainy 2: The Madlib RemixYip-Yip Two Kings of the Same Kingdom
user ratings (33)
Chart.
3.8
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
mynameischan
Staff Reviewer
September 29th 2007



17920 Comments


*hear, methinks

Justanothernimrod
September 29th 2007



478 Comments


I met him the other week, truly amazing guy.

The Jungler
September 29th 2007



4827 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

oh yeah, got that chan.

Jom
Staff Reviewer
September 29th 2007



2634 Comments


Nice job, Joe. You guys just keep on truckin', haha.

Bron-Yr-Aur
September 29th 2007



4405 Comments


i smoked weed with him once

Bron-Yr-Aur
September 29th 2007



4405 Comments


he dropped my bowl and it cracked upon the pavement but he bought me another so its cool

Yyy
September 29th 2007



289 Comments


This album rules

Yyy
September 29th 2007



289 Comments


So your 3.5 review can stfu ._.

with the fiercely technical drumming of Sonic Youth’s Steve Shelley
Um what.

this review is kind of awkward and doesn't really flow that well. like you just say what a few of the songs sound like and add some other unecessary tidbits like "Yeah." and "Granted, it’s far from the most interesting, but listenable is certainly an apt description." etcet cetcThis Message Edited On 09.29.07

smokersdieyounger
September 30th 2007



672 Comments


nearly picked this up the other day, good review man

Neoteric
September 30th 2007



3243 Comments


Yeah, this album is awesome.

I need to listen to it more though.

._.

Justanothernimrod
September 30th 2007



478 Comments


haha that's a brilliant story with the bowl.

I had breakfast with him, Kim and and Lee in the Camden Holiday Inn, London a couple weeks ago, haha

sharkboy
September 30th 2007



33 Comments


I had sex with him last night, ha ha.

The Jungler
September 30th 2007



4827 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Um what.
yeah, in hindsight, this was a pretty lame description. It's tough for me to describe drummers that I like without making them sound like John Bonham or someone in that vein.
this review is kind of awkward and doesn't really flow that well. like you just say what a few of the songs sound like and add some other unecessary tidbits like "Yeah." and "Granted, it’s far from the most interesting, but listenable is certainly an apt description." etcet cetc
and yeah, I get what you're saying here too. I'm definitley gonna edit this up a little after I get some breakfest. Thanks for all the comments guys.
This Message Edited On 09.30.07

CatfishJones
October 4th 2007



24 Comments


i sampled a few songs off of this. sounded really accessible, but in a good way.

MrKite
October 22nd 2007



5020 Comments


I had breakfast with him, Kim and and Lee in the Camden Holiday Inn, London

I never meet anyone cool.
Got this downloading and I'm expecting good things.

samthebassman
November 9th 2007



2164 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Great album, easy 4 for me.

plane
Staff Reviewer
January 12th 2008



6085 Comments


This is pretty great.

cbmartinez
January 22nd 2008



2525 Comments


I like this alot, more than any Sonic Youth album I have.

JesusV4
November 25th 2009



391 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Just got this at the library for free. I love Sonic Youth. And this album could easily be a Sonic Youth record (albeit not one of the best (though far from the worst). Anyway though, I love it.

Roach
November 25th 2009



2149 Comments



I like this alot, more than any Sonic Youth album I have.


crazy



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