Sonic Youth
SYR 9: Simon Werner a Disparu


3.0
good

Review

by Joseph Viney STAFF
February 21st, 2011 | 43 replies


Release Date: 2011 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Comme ci, comme ça.

A long time ago, in a review far, far away, it was said that the worst thing to ever happen to Sonic Youth was when they first asked each other “Hey, should we let Kim sing one?” As it stands, Kim Gordon’s bandmate, fellow vocalist and husband Thurston Moore has never been in contention for singer of the year either. With their latest release, Simon Werner a Disparu, being an instrumental film score, it will come as a welcome surprise to those who enjoy the more experimental and meandering sounds the band produce instead of their usual vocal styling.

The film ‘Simon Werner a Disparu’ (known as ‘Lights Out’ elsewhere) is a French thriller set in a high school and on the surface Sonic Youth, with their penchant for eerie, feedback-laden soundscapes are a perfect partner for the film’s director Fabrice Gobert. On listening to the album you can get a feel for the potentially claustrophobic setting; narrow corridors, sparse lighting and the tension of suspicion and intrigue. This feeling is most accurately conveyed on the dark and dirty “Jean-Baptiste a la Fenetre”, with its cocksure strut, insistent guitar and Beefheartian vibe.

In fact, it’s not difficult to compare this album to a Magic Band jam session, assuming the Captain had forgotten to turn up. There’s off-kilter drum patterns, guitar playing that can best be described as “angular” and an all-round sense that at any moment it could all fall apart. However, it’s held together with a sense of lucidity that only playing in more or less the same setting for 30+ years can bring. The album’s penultimate track, “Au Café”, sees the group in more familiar territory and bringing to mind some of their more famous songs. “Chez Yves (Alice et Clara)” also harks back to a more immediate and memorable Sonic Youth sound; a buzz saw guitar line and a solid drum beat segues nicely into a hazy and dreamlike outro sequence.

There are times when the idea of experimentation can become too much to bear. The first minute of “Thème de Laetitia” will cause a painful wince as its razor sharp squall of feedback dominates proceedings and “Dans les Bois / M. Rabier” descends into a horrible mess after a suave first half.

Long time fans of Sonic Youth may wish to use this album as a barometer of the group’s future. There is a higher concentration of piano-led music on offer (most evident on the helpfully titled “Les Anges Au Piano”) and it could well hint at a change in focus and direction on their next studio LP and away from the scuzzier sound of 2009’s The Eternal.



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user ratings (32)
Chart.
3.4
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
JViney
Staff Reviewer
February 21st 2011


322 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Hmm. Few things haven't worked here. Edits on their way.

robertsona
Staff Reviewer
February 21st 2011


15083 Comments


MAMA SAY MAMA MAMA SA MAMA MOO SA

JViney
Staff Reviewer
February 21st 2011


322 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Yup.

Urinetrouble
February 21st 2011


5764 Comments


oh cool new sonic youth gonna have to check this out

DoubtGin
February 21st 2011


6754 Comments


this is sweet



cvlts
February 21st 2011


8985 Comments


don't curr

Aids
Contributing Reviewer
February 21st 2011


24098 Comments


never really got in to Sonic Youth, I should at least check out their older (allegedly) legendary albums.

Great work Jospeh.

Digging: Mitski - bury me at makeout creek

kanecooper
February 21st 2011


630 Comments


daydream nation is probably the best album ever

Irving
Staff Reviewer
February 21st 2011


7321 Comments


Waiting for Jethro42 to pee his pants over this review.

Jethro42
February 21st 2011


12638 Comments


Mais où est donc Simon?
héhéhé

LegendofPittman
February 21st 2011


2958 Comments


New SY? I didn't even know about this.

couldwinarabbit
February 21st 2011


6996 Comments


Jesus Christ. My two favourite bands have new albums in the same week.

Kiran
Emeritus
February 21st 2011


6002 Comments


it's just a soundtrack, i wouldn't get too excited

kanecooper
February 21st 2011


630 Comments


yeah don't expect too much from this

porch
February 21st 2011


8460 Comments


better than daydream nation

kanecooper
February 21st 2011


630 Comments


har har har dee ha

>_>

Disconnected
February 21st 2011


485 Comments


Sounds like something I'd really like. I'll get it sometime soon. And regarding your conclusion, I don't think this hints anything about their next LP; the SYR albums are always more experimental than their typical releases.

porch
February 21st 2011


8460 Comments


har har har dee ha


****

will probably give this a listen though

PuddlesPuddles
February 22nd 2011


4787 Comments


Album sucks because not surprised


DBlitz
February 22nd 2011


1691 Comments


brilliant summary!!



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