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Murray Street Enhanced

4.7 out of 5 stars 10 customer reviews

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Audio CD, Enhanced, 10 Jun 2002
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Product details

  • Audio CD (10 Jun. 2002)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Enhanced
  • Label: Polydor Group
  • ASIN: B000066I6F
  • Other Editions: Audio CD |  Vinyl |  MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars 10 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 30,678 in CDs & Vinyl (See Top 100 in CDs & Vinyl)
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Product description

As Sonic Youth will testify, it's not easy being avant-rock superstars. Follow your urge to experiment and you risk alienating your more conservative fans. Stop experimenting and you lose the impetus that made you so exciting in the first place. Such is the dilemma faced by this exceptional band in 2002, now wryly rechristened as Radical Adults in one Thurston Moore lyric. Given the bewilderment that's unfairly greeted recent attempts to push their remarkable music to new extremes--notably their contemporary classical project, Goodbye 20th Century-- Murray Street initially feels like something of a compromise; the band themselves admit it's more "song-oriented" than their last few albums. But, hell, what a magnificent compromise. Named after the New York street where their studio is situated--and where a plane engine landed on September 11--Murray Street is potent, accessible, daring and often obliteratingly lovely. For a start, the first three songs ("The Empty Page", "Disconnection Notice" and "Rain on Tin") easily rank alongside the highlights of Sonic Youth's previous 15 albums: obliquely melancholic, tuneful but unorthodox, all enriched by great cascades of intricate three-guitar noise. When the Youth spin off on one of these bright and wild trips, these rich musical elegies for their city, they remain one of the world's great musical wonders. --John Mulvey

BBC Review

In a world where most guitar groups regurgitate mouldy old ideas, floundering ham-fistedly around in a sea of stupidity and borrowed riffs, it's a relief to turn to this intelligent, confident and, dare one say it, tasteful record.

For a start there's the sheer originality of the sound; instantly recognisable from the very first second. These guitars sound like America; lyrical, tuneful, gnarled and ugly, subway trains and wrecked cars. Wide open spaces.

On this album the twist is that the mood is almost a mellow one. There's plenty of extreme sonic attack of course, "Karen Revisited" features an extraordinary moment which sounds like a jet engine colliding with half a dozen fax machines. But the opening track "The Empty Page" sets the tone: reflective, melodic, mature. Throughout, the feedback and noise seem integrated, and oddly beautiful. And for once, both the singing and the lyrics seem exactly right. There's variety enough: as well as long workouts like "Rain On Tin", there's the short sharp punk rock from another galaxy of "Plastic Sun". Newest member Jim O'Rourke, on bass guitar,seems to have given them a new lease of life: his clean production is another plus.

On previous records Sonic Youth were sometimes self indulgent and often patchy. But there's no trace of that here. The whole thing lasts only 47 minutes, a blessed relief in these days of over long, overdone product. If you've never heard them before this is a great place to start. It's one of their best, and an object lesson to any pretender. Quietly they have reasserted their place as not just the Kings and Queen of Underground rock, but as purveyors of one of the most distinctive sounds in music. When the "albums of the year" lists come round, this one will be on them. --Nick Reynolds

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on 5 July 2002
Format: Audio CD
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on 13 June 2002
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VINE VOICEon 8 September 2009
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VINE VOICEon 14 June 2002
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