Home Read Classic Album Review: Sonic Youth | Murray Street

Classic Album Review: Sonic Youth | Murray Street

After two decades as a a four-piece, the N.Y. noise-rockers officially become a quintet.

This came out in 2002 – or at least that’s when I got it. Here’s what I said about it back then (with some minor editing):


Five things you need to know about this album:

1) After two decades as a a four-piece, Sonic Youth have officially become a quintet with the addition of post-rock multi-instrumentalist and noise-loving producer Jim O’Rourke (who also appeared on their last CD NYC Ghosts and Flowers and produced Wilco’s Yankee Hotel Foxtrot).

2) Membership changes in veteran bands can be recipes for disaster — but as usual, SY snatch victory from the jaws of defeat with Murray Street, the latest in a string of impressive albums, and a disc that finds the band continuing to break new ground.

3) Along with the downtown garage-punk and complex noise-rock epics you expect from Thurston Moore, Kim Gordon, Lee Ranaldo and Steve Shelley, Murray Street also has some of the band’s cleanest and most straightforward songs in years, with crisp guitar lines, hummable melodies and even a catchy chorus or two.

4) For the most part, O’Rourke seems to blend in the with others rather seemlessly, layering his trademark scartch ’n’ drone textural soundscapes here and there — most obviously on the punk-romance centrepiece Karen Revisited — but keeping them fairly unobtrusive.

5) O’Rourke can stay — at least for the time being.