Thurston Moore: Demolished Thoughts 

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Until recently, Thurston Moore’s solo albums fell into one of three categories: relentless noise, abstract improvisation, and mawkish verse-chorus-verse. With 2007’s Trees Outside The Academy he began mixing mediums, and the avuncular, gregarious Sonic Youth guitarist started cutting his pro-forma rawk with distortion studies and soft-core folk. On Demolished Thoughts, Moore’s barbed-wire violence migrates from his guitar volume to his vocal phrasing and sighs. Brushing on classical accents like acrylic oils — Mary Lattimore’s divine harps, Samara Lubelski’s lachrymose strings — producer Beck Hansen reveals Moore less as 50-something agitator than immortal romantic whose flickering melodies and ghostly vocals lend new, unexpected dimensions. Lyrically speaking, Thoughts plays like a series of codas to Sonic Youth’s 1995 epic “The Diamond Sea”: young love, betrayal, desperation, wide-open spaces, and options. But these stories are spun without a sneer, while the depths lie in the arrangements: “Mina Loy” exudes a sense of minor-key gloom and whistling-solo optimism without the result feeling awkward; “Orchard Street” has a hypnotic, torrential simplicity; and an autumnal armada of skitters, squeaks, and plucks come to define the gorgeously mesmerizing conclusion of “Circulation.” Chalk Thoughts up as a personal best.


More by Ray Cummings



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