Most helpful positive review
16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
As brilliant as Daydream Nation, though very different
on 20 September 2003
Dirty and Daydream Nation are the only two Sonic Youth albums I own, but they are both utterly amazing, though for different reasons. In the case of Dirty, its for cooler-than-cool, disaffected post-punk and grunge-pop. More song-based and straight-ahead rock than the somewhat proggy Daydream Nation, its nevertheless tempered with fine bursts of white noise, magical guitar duelling, grinding riffs and propelling, heavy bass.
Everyone mentions '100%' and 'Sugar Kane', and both are good, the former a driving, posturing, cool punk number and the latter a radio-friendly, poppy rock song. However this album by no means stops there. Springing to mind is the utterly wonderful 'Theresa's Sound-world' which builds from quiet, reflective melody to a wall of beautiful, heavy, ear-bleeding noise. 'Drunken Butterfly' is propelled by a catchy riff (recently ripped off by Cooper Temple Clause for their single 'Promises Promises') and an earnestly ironic chorus of 'I love you, I love you, I love you, what's your name?'.
Their political drive comes to the fore on the slower, but equally menacing 'Youth Against Fascism', which contains sneering vocals, a monster of a bass sound and guitars that sound as if they are being ritualistically tortured rather than played. The album veers from creepy ('Shoot', 'On The Strip') to all-out punk ('Orange Rolls, Angel's Spit' and the cover of 'Nic's Fit'). The more commercial 'Chapel Hill' sits alongside 'Sugar Kane' nicely, but every track on here has a sense of melody. Then there is a bit of lunacism, like the strange and twisted closer 'Creme Brulee'.
Every track on this album digs its own musical furrow and the album is all the better for it as despite its length of 15 tracks each one is worthy of high acclaim. Above all, listening to Dirty, you get the sense that they were influencing scores of alternative bands to come: much of the album seems a template for bands like My Vitriol, Cooper Temple Clause and Ikara Colt, 'Youth Against Fascism' seems to have influenced Mclusky and 'Chapel Hill' sounds like it may have wormed its way into the minds of the Manic Street Preachers at times. This is an amazing album, an equal of Daydream Nation, and probably the best starting point for newcomers to this brilliant band.