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Customer Review

on 26 September 2003
Screaming Fields of Sonic Love takes in SY from around 1983 to 1988 where they delivered the brilliant Daydream Nation, prior to signing to Geffen & producing such albums as Goo & Dirty. As a budget-priced primer to SY it offers a clear guide to their works of the 80s, on which their reputation was formed.
The album is in reverse order, opening with an edited version of TeenAge Riot (about one J Mascis)- followed by the gnarly-pop of Kissability, Lee Ranaldo's classic Eric's Trip & the single of Candle (of course one asks where Silver Rocket,'Cross the Breeze & Rain King are/one should own Daydream Notion in its entireity). We then get a Ciccone Youth-interlude, Indie Hit single Into the Groove(y) & Macbeth from The Whitey Album (their response to Pussy Galore's cover of the whole of Exile on Main Street). Again there are omissions- where is the 'beatbox' single version of Masterdik? Or their amusing cover of Robert Palmer's Addicted to Love?
We reach the Phlip K Dick-concept album Sister next, Beauty Lies in the Eye features Lydia Lunch (Teenage Jesus, Harry Crews); Kotton Krown is a wonderful trippy number. But surely Sister could have been better represented: White Kross? PCH? Hot Wire My Heart? Schizophrenia/Catholic Block (the two tracks that should have definitely made it here). Oh well, tis but a sampler!
There are three tracks from 1985's Evol, which heralded the arrival of Steve Shelley on drums- all wonderful, though Shadow of a Doubt should maybe have been ditched & replaced by Tom Violence. No one can argue with the post-Velvets pop of Star Power, or the epic/infinite-Manson inspired Expressway to Yr Skull (or Madonna,Sean&Me!- since bettered by Washing Machine's The Diamond Sea).
A highlight for me remains the single Death Valley 69 (from 1984's Bad Moon Rising- their last album with Bob Bert, who would join Pussy Galore)- Lydia Lunch co-sings this track with Thurston Moore, namechecking The White Album/Manson link as we're deep in death valley, wired on amphetamines, LSD, brainwashing with dreams of Helter Skelter & bubble cars. Wonderful repetition of chords until the song comes back in at the end (there are also three tracks found on the Death Valley69 ep- Inhuman (the opener of Confusion is Sex), I Dreamed I Dream & Brother James- all brilliant/why not include Satan is Boring though??????).
Making the Nature Scene, along with Inhuman represents the harsh Confusion is Sex album (much better than the later Ciccone version); though the classic Halloween/Flower single is impetus enough to own this set (Halloween would be memorably covered by Mudhoney on Sonic Youth's split-single where they covered Mudhoney's Touch Me I'm Sick: why was this left off?????)
Screaming...is a lovely primer of an era of a great band, though as I've pointed out many classic tracks are left off- and many great tracks were yet to come on albums such as Experimental Jet..., Washing Machine, Murray St, Leaving the 20th Century etc. A great intro, but I'd recommend paying the extra and getting Bad Moon Rising, Evol, Sister & Daydream Nation for starters...Sonic Youth, as this compilation proves, were one of the underground bands of the 1980s, alongside such acts as The Fall, Pussy Galore, Beat Happening, The Wipers, Husker Du & Black Flag-
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