9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
This review is from: Washing Machine (Audio CD)
I'm surprised there aren't more reviews posted here for this brilliant album. Everyone and his mother knows that 1988's seminal Daydream Nation is a solid-gold alternative rock classic, but it isn't the only great Sonic Youth album and it's not even my personal favourite. I reckon that 1995's Washing Machine is one of their strongest, most fully realised works to date.
There are a few relatively poppy and straightforward moments on the record - the striking Kim Gordon-sung opener Becuz, the lovely and melodic Unwind, the sweet 60s girl-pop pastiche of Little Trouble Girl. But unlike the more compact and concise punk/grunge songs of the Goo and Dirty era, Washing Machine is largely an album of sprawling, trancelike, free-form guitar epics. Therefore it's probably closer in spirit to Daydream Nation, with a hint of Teutonic art rock like Neu! and Can thrown into the mix. It takes some getting used to, sure, but gradually the pastoral textures and droning feedback achieve a startling, powerful beauty. This is never more evident than on the nine-minute title track and the symphonic, 19-minute closer The Diamond Sea, which is surely one of the most exquisite pieces of rock music in recent decades.
Washing Machine is a rich, intense listening experience. Once you get into the hang of it, it becomes one of Sonic Youth's most addictive records. So strap on your headphones and drift away.