Thurston Moore
Rock N Roll Consciousness


4.0
excellent

Review

by butcherboy USER (123 Reviews)
April 29th, 2017 | 37 replies


Release Date: 2017 | Tracklist

Review Summary: We love the jams, and the jams run free..

The first two-thirds of Kim Gordon’s memoir Girl in a Band made so much casual mention of rubbing shoulders with 80’s New York’s artistic genius, that the reader might have felt quartered by the gloomy turn the book took in its closing dissection of Gordon and Moore’s failed marriage and working partnership, one of the most enduring and revered in all of rock n’ roll. The separate output of the two since their dissolution has seen both of them retreat to the strong suits that they each lent Sonic Youth all these years. Gordon’s Glitterbust and Body/Head have been stewing in atonal ambience and intermittently aggro rock, while Moore’s 2014 subdued and largely aimless The Best Day was perhaps a little too eager in expressing how content and packed with priority he’s been in the wake of his relationship.

By contrast, Rock n Roll Consciousness sees him step back into the full-bodied electric cataclysms he’d first made his name in. Despite the album’s Free Lovin’ title, its latter-day flower child tie-dye cover art, or Moore’s own lyrical odes to unnamed all-exalting romance, the music itself is heaving with depressive turns. It’s also easily the most convergent effort Moore has put out before or since the Youth split. Consciousness is not bogged down by either rudderless noise schisms or airy acoustic dirges, a good picture of how affecting this sort of music can be when you allow pieces to breathe without drifting.

Though every song on Consciousness holds that patented Branca skeletal strumming that Sonic Youth have explored from just about every direction, the more nuanced guitar-work here sees Moore forgo his usual tack of two-man interplay in prolonged drone and resonance. Instead he chooses to stick closer to the kind of melancholic abandon Neil Young poured into his 70’s electric output. The solos slice through the songs often and like a honed trench knife. It never feels myopic or self-gratifying. In fact, if anything, it lends Consciousness a much more normalized tint than the bulk of Moore’s guitar pyrotechnics, both on his own and within the Ranaldo-Gordon paradigm he’d worked with for most of his life. On Smoke of Dreams in particular, Moore has seemingly written the most straightforward mid-tempo rock song of his career. Despite its traditional lean, Dreams is a marvel, a show of deliberate unravel, airtight guitar, and Moore’s ageless half-spoken alto/tenor that does little to reveal the nearly-60-year old behind it.

Three of the five tracks on Consciousness stride past the six-minute mark without batting an eye-lash, but for all that heft, the album feels so lean in its singular focus, that it never becomes a meandering slog. Moore finds balance better than on any of his past solo work, and most everything falls in place here; from the relentless pin prick chug of Cusp, to the crazed doom metal breakdown that smashes up the middle of Exalted, to the meaty no-wave fits that traverse closer Aphrodite.

Given Moore and Gordon’s age and collective resentment and injury, it’s unlikely that fans will ever live through a new Sonic Youth record seeing the light of day. And though unending streaks of radical experimentation would likely present a better image of a recuperating divorcee, it’s a small pleasure to see Moore do a slight retread and ply a trade at the kind of joyously dissonant racket he first cut his teeth on.



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user ratings (44)
3.5
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
butcherboy
April 29th 2017


9464 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

a short one.. hope you enjoy..

SandwichBubble
April 29th 2017


10507 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Can't wait to listen to this~

Digging: Dirt - Never Mind Dirt - Here's the Bollocks

Divaman
April 29th 2017


4419 Comments


Another nice historical perspective, even in a review of a new album. Vg.

Digging: Tegan and Sara - Hey, I'm Just Like You

Satellite
April 29th 2017


25867 Comments


good review butcherb0i

never given his solo stuff a shot

butcherboy
April 29th 2017


9464 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Thanks, gents..



Sat, it's touch and go stuff, but this one is damn good

Satellite
April 29th 2017


25867 Comments


word. i've been looking for more 2017 shit to check out. and i'm a sucker for colorful album covers.

fun bit of trivia: sonic youth's drummer and i are from the same (tiny) town.

butcherboy
April 29th 2017


9464 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

No shit! Steve Shelley.. Very cool. Where's the place?

Satellite
April 29th 2017


25867 Comments


midland, michigan. the home of dow chemical.

nice town but booooooring.

butcherboy
April 29th 2017


9464 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Shit, Sat.. Two counties over and you would have been a country bumpkin..

SandwichBubble
April 30th 2017


10507 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Album's got me "Thurston" for "Moore"



















YEAH! :D

SandwichBubble
April 30th 2017


10507 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

But no, this album's fantastic.

butcherboy
April 30th 2017


9464 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Hahahaha, stellar pun, sandwich!

dreamgauze
April 30th 2017


910 Comments


Yes! Awesome review, awesome album. Excellent guitar play, most reminiscent to SY's Murray Street.

cylinder
April 30th 2017


1407 Comments


love sonic youth and have always been fascinated by thurston but never checked out his solo stuff.. i mean i guess i only recently realized he even did that lol. derp. sweet review thx for gettin this on my radar

butcherboy
April 30th 2017


9464 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Cheers, guys..



cylinder, if you love sonic youth, this one will definitely tick a few boxes for you

Voivod
Staff Reviewer
May 1st 2017


8494 Comments


Just into the album opener, and this sounds great.

polyrhythm
May 5th 2017


2117 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

this sounds like Thurston trying to do latter-day Swans and failing tbh

Digging: Goat - World Music

dreamgauze
May 5th 2017


910 Comments


w h a t

polyrhythm
May 5th 2017


2117 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

the long-winding songs, the foreboding riffs, the guitars swelling into tidal waves of distortion



rock music trying to be enormous and dark and all-encompassing

polyrhythm
May 5th 2017


2117 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

a lot of the doomsday riffs on this like 5:40ish on Aphrodite sound lifted straight from The Seer or The Glowing Man tbh



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