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on 5 July 2002
Sonic Youth have managed to re-define themselves with Murray Street. The songs are peaceful and hypnotic, and I've found myself listening to this record a lot before going to sleep. In fact, I think it's one of my favourite records by them, right up there with the swirly, punky guitars of Daydream Nation.
Standout tracks for me are Lee's excellent 'Karen Revisited', which touches on psychedelia and has an excellent breakdown at the end, managing to sound both disturbing and beautiful at the same time. Also a standout is the Kim-song, 'Sympathy For The Strawberry', which shows us a different style of her music (harking back to maybe Evol's 'Shadow of a Doubt'). This contrasts nicely with her more punky 'Plastic Sun' earlier on the album. 'Radical Adults Lick Godhead Style' penned by Thurston is also excellent, along with the all of the tracks really.
All in all I think this is one of their most coherent albums and one I would recommend to both Youth and non-Youth fans alike.
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on 13 June 2002
How great is Murry Street? After the occasionally dour NYC Ghosts and Flowers and the experimental noise of SYR , MS is a spectacular and refreshing return to form from Sonic Youth.
"The Empty Page" is another classic Thurston Moore album opener, and it just gets better from there. "Karen Revisited" is a particular highlight, best Lee Ranaldo since "Rain King"? Jim O'Rourke appears to have added an extra dimension with production and extra guitars. Check out the guitars on "Plastic Sun", pure class. Roll on the Summer tour..
It has been said that SY are no longer relevant, that their risks are no longer risks. They only play for their own sonic pleasure. Maybe thats true, but just listen to Murry Street and then stick on Is This It and ask yourself which is more relevant. Which will leave you drained and bored, which will want you asking for more, more, more????!!!!! Sonic Youth are as important as any band around at the moment, they have been for the past two decades. Forget The Strokes, Sonic Youth are THE quintessential New York band. They'll still be making great music when The Strokes, BRMC, Hives, etc, etc are long gone.
Go and get Murry Street now!!!
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VINE VOICEon 8 September 2009
The first few minutes of The Empty Page make it apparent Sonic Youth aren't about to shred your ears with the noise rock of Daydream Nation - nor are they about to bully you with prime grunge-era swagger of Dirty. Instead, Murray Street shows the underbelly of Sonic Youth - the serene melodic bliss that underpinned all their attitude and experimentation.

It seems odd that the current band and their most recent "The Eternal" are hell-bent on sounding raw and ballsy again, when this seemed a real maturing. There are extended guitar jams, jagged riffs and trademark off-kilter melodies - but not wrapped up in experimentation and noise. There's serenity to the sound where the melodies are given room, freed of the ever-cacophonous guitar attack of before. Murray Street sounds unquestionably like a Sonic Youth album - but just older, matured and...relaxed?

Now I'm not saying one is better than the other. I love the attitude and sound of Daydream Nation and Goo, but Murray Street offers a perfect change - a meditative little sister - perfect for times when feedback screeching between pop hooks is not always a necessity.
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VINE VOICEon 14 June 2002
The new Sonic Youth album is a collection of some exceptional songs (with a couple of merely good tracks). Now a quintet (Jim O'Rourke, collaborator since '97 is now a full member of the group), it's hard to tell the difference except in the production quality.
Song by song:
1. Empty Page: melodious in a 'Sister' style, but including 15 years experience and a beat that'll have you tapping your feet.
2. Disconnection Notice: melodious again, with great mesa-stabs of echo guitar and a glorious guitar-as-modem feedback outro. Wouldn't be out of place on 'A Thousand Leaves.'
3. Rain On Tin: starts weak, three Thurston vocals in a row is a little too much. Get past the vocals and you're rewarded with a lovely sonic workout akin to the quieter parts of 'The Diamond Sea.'
4. Karen Revisited: As ever, Lee provides a consistant level of quality. An awkward start leads into a rocker that could have appeared on 'Daydream Nation' and then descends into pure noise in a manner not dissimilar to Lee's song 'Mote' from 'Goo.'
5.Radical Adults Lick Godhead Style: The stand-out track track on the album, this rocks, screams, experiments and bewitches all at once. Twin horns play Coltrane-style sheets of sound in tandem with the Youth's furious guitar assault. Stunning.
6. Plastic Sun: Kim Gordon's tracks are either (a) amazing or (b) terrible. This is pretty bad, but nowhere near as bad as 'Lightnin'" from the last album. No experimenting, and bad lyrics, this may have been good if sung by Kurt Cobain 10 years ago, but has no place in the SY canon beyond being a B-side.
7. Sympathy For The Strawberry: This sounds unfinished, a sonic jam that would have been on one of the SYR 'snapshot' EP's and then a year later appearing as a finished song on an album. The second weakest song on the album, it is redeemed slightly by Kim's whispered vocals which recall 'Contre Le Sexisme' from 'A Thousand Leaves' and her whispered, multi-layered songs on 'Dirty.'
Looking at the album as a whole, it doesn't hit the heights of 'A Thousand Leaves' or 'Sister' or 'Confusion Is Sex/Kill Yr Idols,' but neither does it fail as 'Bad Moon Rising' did. It ranks somewhere around 'Washing Machine' and 'Evol' - encroaching on brilliant but let down by a few weak tracks.
Don't let the number of songs worry you either, this pulls in at 45 minutes, with one track going over 11 mins so plenty of trademark sonic explorations for long-term fans, and a lot of pretty riffs and melody in the first few songs, making this album the closest SY have come to being radio friendly in about a decade.
Whether the album as a whole will stand up as more than just a bunch of songs (which is where 2000's 'NYC G+F' fell down) will only become clear over time, but it's always good to see the Youth progressing along their own parallel path to popular culture. Recommended for fans of SY or experimental music like Godspeed You Black Emperor! or Mogwai. Straight Rock fans, try Dirty first.
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on 30 May 2007
With some records you know what you think of them after one listen, or a couple of listens. With this one, I've been holding back my judgement for a while cos I've not been able to decide what my position is. The odd thing is that, while I've been unsure of my opinion... Murray Street has kept on demanding that I listen to it. It's intriguing, I guess.

One thing that is immediately evident about Murray Street is that this is the best sounding Sonic Youth album I've heard yet; better sounding than Washing Machine. I'm just not sure what I think about the songs. That is, they're mellow and good examples of the more accessible side of Sonic Youth's musical explorations but in some places I feel like I've heard all these ideas before - especially in the cases of "Rain on Tin" which has an interlude that is a little over-reminiscent of their earlier "Wildflower Soul," and "Karen Revisited" which has the kind of overlong drone outro that they did so memorably on "Diamond Sea" - and (less memorably) elsewhere. Kim Gordon's contributions meanwhile, are negligible in comparison to her best spiky punk efforts of previous records.

These songs just don't seem to go anywhere. For all their nice sonic soundscapes, these songs all feel a little flat. There are no exciting rock moments, and no excursions that the band have not been on before, but I think it will be a record I return to once in a while - just because it's one of the few Sonic Youth records that you don't have to concentrate really hard on to get anything out of it. It makes decent background music, I guess. So while I wouldn't rate it as highly as "Washing Machine", "Goo", or "Evol"... I would probably listen to it before say, "Dirty" and certainly before the impenetrable "NYC Ghosts and Flowers" or the overrated "Daydream Nation".

So there you go. I think ultimately it's a record that's worth having.
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on 11 December 2016
Brilliant album, good quality product. Ordered at 5pm in the evening, it arrived the next morning!
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on 24 October 2006
Best album by New York's finest. Simple as that. Disconnection Notice in particular is sublime.
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on 24 April 2010
This 2002 Sonic Youth album was a return to form as far as I was concerned. It's very definitely a more mature Sonic Youth, perhaps due to the presence of Jim O'Rourke, who had joined the band for this album.

There are only seven songs on this album but the first 3 (all sung by Thurston Moore) are damn near perfect. Empty Page is probably the poppiest one here, which starts with a fairly unadorned clean-sounding guitar in the verses before leading into a slightly heavier chorus. The whole thing is quite concise and is over in just over four minutes. Although Sonic Youth were no slouches when it came to guitars before, they really excel themselves here. O'Rourke's presence on bass frees up Kim Gordon to join Moore and Lee Ranaldo on guitar. Disconnection Notice is a slower, more complex track which unfolds slowly with a taut guitar line leading the track and the rest of the band joining in, driving the track on to a career high (and there are many for this band). What makes this track particularly enjoyable is that they threaten noise and feedback without delivering, which makes the track tense but thrilling.

Rain On Tin is like Television's Marquee Moon updated for the 21st century. Guitars in the midsection of this song reach Verlaine-esque heights from about 02.40 on before returning to the structure of this song. The track is almost 8 minutes long but it doesn't feel like it, thanks the superb musicianship displayed.

After this the album takes a bit of a dip. Karen Revisited, is a Ranaldo-sung track, which starts out fine, till we get to a tedious noise section in the middle, which is dragged out for the remainder of the 11 minute long track. Radical Adults Lick Godhead Style is a definite improvement, a bit more rockist with it's Lou Reed references, before climaxing in a noise-fest at the end.

Kim Gordon gets to sing Plastic Sun, which is a typical Gordon shouty song, but she also gets to sing Sympathy for the Strawberry, a longer drawn out song, in a similar vein to last year's Massage The History off The Eternal. For the first 3 songs alone, it's worth checking out.
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on 1 August 2009
When fans are asked what their favourite Sonic Youth album is, rarely is Murray Street mentioned. There will be plenty votes for Evol, for Daydream Nation, and for Goo, but this classic seems to go under the radar a bit.

For what its worth, I would choose this every time.

Surprisingly slim by Sonic Youth standards at only seven songs, Murray Street is a confident, reflective and cohesive bunch of songs which loses much of the angst and experimentation from their earlier work.

What it does have is more mature sounding songs, and some excellent sprawling ambient guitar work. While some of it is reminiscent of their 80s albums; the difference here is that the guitar parts never step outside the boundary of the song and is always focused.

While it is a similarly introspective work, it has none of the pretentiousness that permeates NYC Ghosts and Flowers, which was very sub-par.

It is the album I would always recommend for newcomers to the band as well, as it is certainly one of their most accessible albums. Sonic Youth have always had an under-rated talent for melody, and never is it more to the fore than Murray Street.
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on 7 June 2006
I love sonic youth, and they have a lot of great stuff from throughout the years.

personally, i think this is there best album. Its so easy to listen to.
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