Top critical review
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3 stars... seems a bit harsh, but it is a little lacking.
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.