2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars
A Good Introduction to a Great Band, 2 Jan. 2007
Only my second experience with Sonic Youth, this record has more of an immediate impact than that of the sprawling epic, Daydream Nation. The tracks are contained (many clocking at around three minutes), but still have a raw textured sound to them, where the guitars are occasionally allowed to take hold. The highlight is the penultimate track, `Expressway to Yr Skull' (credited as `Madonna, Sean and Me') with a full three minute section of ambience/distortion.
There are some wonderful moments of contrast throughout the course of the album: `Shadow of a Doubt' is Kim Gordon's finest hour - she whispers over stark muted plucking whilst the track builds to its peak (a classic Sonic Youth rockout coupled with screaming). `Secret Girls' features a twinkling piano melody, a shock to the system after an album of snarling guitars and pounding drums.
Where the album falters slightly is in its attempts at a more simple pop song. The most fitting example being the rather unsuitable closer `Bubblegum', where the exciting rhythmic and textural aspects that drive the album are muddied by more melodic guitar lines and vocal harmonizing over nonsensical lyrics. It is a fun to end such a dark album; it just doesn't sit well with the tracks that precede it.
This is a record that can stand up to the vastness of Daydream Nation, by offering an alternative, tighter set of songs. Highly recommended for any Sonic Youth fan and a good addition to any music collection.