The noise surrounding Thurston Moore’s surprising split from Sonic Youth co-founder Kim Gordon has finally reached its highest decibel and faded out. What now remains is a collection of pure-hearted rock and roll songs from Moore. His fourth solo album, The Best Day, serves as his first artistic insight into his current mindset and lovelife since the divorce.
The rock and roll on The Best Day is loud and brash like most of Sonic Youth’s best moments, but more measured and patient. The album is Moore’s solo follow-up to 2009’s Demolished Thoughts and first since his 2013 release with Chelsea Light Moving.
The Best Day is weighted heavily with the two opening tracks. “Speak To The Wild” is a dense eight minutes and “Forevermore” reaches past the eleven minute mark. The former is the first single. The song, like its video accompaniment, is a vexing lunge through the unknown woods. “Don’t let the dark get you lost,” Moore sings, “your free will has come in fire and frost.” His voice aches with warning.
The latter, “Forevermore,” lulls the listener into a trance with crunching guitars that never give in. Moore wallops on his strings singing about the pleasing nature of a love that has unfurled. The guitars slowly surround the listener. Time begins to slow with Moore’s unrelenting repetition. The listener is trapped, tapping a foot and bobbing their head.
“Tape” starts off sounding like what you might hear at a solo Thurston Moore show: a lot of uneven plucked guitar noise. It then evolves into a haunting acoustic stride with Moore praising the poetics of the physically recorded past. Moore evokes a pastoral serenity with his calm acoustic strums.
The title track rips into the straight rock and roll of classic Sonic Youth. The guitar riff is heavy and hammered to the wall by the drums. Eventually the one-two strum breaks loose and a euphoric guitar solo erupts. Moore rattles with acerbic poetry and feedback squalls on the closer “Germ Burns.” The drums and bass rumble together like a lit cigarette burning your flesh over and over.
When Sonic Youth went up like the smoke from a busted amplifier it wasn’t immediately clear what the future held for its individual members. Could the parts that make up the whole exist apart? Gordon went to work with the abstract feedback expressionism of Body/Head and guitarist and songwriter Lee Ranaldo returned with two excellent albums of his own.
Moore reigns in his former band’s heavy guitar romps and continues to stream his consciousness until he sounds lightheaded. The Best Day is his most complete and enhanced solo work to date. It’s a comfort to know that Moore has found a new zone to define himself musically. For Sonic Youth fans it’s a pleasure to now have more material coming from the founding members. Shred forever, Thurston.
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