Sonic Youth`s ‘The Eternal’ Has No Weak Links!

June 29, 2009 by  
Filed under Music

sonic-youthSonic Youth released its 16th album, “The Eternal,” on Matador Records on June 9th. They left Geffen Records after four albums and are indie once again. I purchased a copy of “The Eternal” at Waterloo Records late yesterday afternoon, and I am scoping out the tracks right now. The cover is a painting by John Fahey, Sea Monster, and looks like a swirling ball of fire. The back cover by Kim Gordon is a photo of four clocks, all at 11:40, on a very bleak plaster wall. All of the songs flow along nicely together, and are smooth and bumpy in places, yet seem to land safely back to their No Wave roots.

I don`t have any beef about any of the songs so far. Very original, I could not detect any borrowing from classic pop riffs. “Malibu Gas Station” reminded me of the sound of Velvet Underground`s “Loaded,” but this is a good thing, very pleasing to my ears. The last one, “Massage The History” is a mellower tune and longer (9’:43”), and features some whispery vocals by Kim Gordon. The first song, “Sacred Trickster,” really punches off the starting line, and “Anti-Orgasm” has nice vocal play between Kim Gordon and Thurston Moore. It morphs into a dissonant guitar affair, then calms down, I guess after the orgasm thing is over. Okay, this must be the anti-orgasm part-cool!

There arn`t any weak links in this chain fence. “Leaky Lifeboat” is jangly guitars, an anti-pop piece with an anti-hook and vocal harmonies, very clever. Looks like Sonic Youth is on tour now, and will be coming to Austin in October for Austin City Limits. Hopefully, I will be able to see them. They have been together for twenty-eight years now! “Eternal” uses all of their experience and influence and is accessible, but still retains the original vision of No Wave. Do not ask me to explain that, though. Favorite song so far, “What We Know,” with the scrappy guitar assault in the middle.