May 21, 2011

Album Review: Thurston Moore's Demolished Thoughts

Thurston Moore has used his proper solo releases as a way to portray himself in a different light over the years by stepping away from the chaos we're accustomed to hearing in his work as frontman to Sonic Youth or his many noise rock endeavors. Even then, 1995's Psychic Hearts displayed a sunnier yet complex side of guitar work heavily influenced by Patti Smith and Yoko Ono while 2007's Trees Outside the Academy delved into bouts of crunchy acoustic experimentation. On Demolished Thoughts, Moore teams up with longtime friend and fellow alt-rock all-star, Beck (who acts as producer) to create his most delicate and softest album yet. Mr. Hansen's influence on Demolished Thoughts is surely the album's most notable talking point, too.

Ever since he released 2002's outstanding yet uncharacteristically mellow affair, Sea Change, the Los Angeles musician has been using a similar production formula to accentuate jangly orchestral pop in other musicians' work (See: Charlotte Gainsbourg 2010 release, IRM.) Trees Outside the Academy collaborator, violinist Samara Lubelski alongside harpist Mary Lattimore aid in the process by propping beautiful layers of strings behind Moore's bare chord progressions. While Demolished Thoughts plays like a padded approach by Moore fans inevitably were bound to hear, his guitar work still revels in a similar pattern of recent subdued Sonic Youth outputs (The cathartic love song, "Benediction," the musical blood rush in "Circulation," the brooding element of a doomed romance in "Mina Loy" or the collision of instruments heard in the outro to "Orchard Street.")

Album standout, "Space", makes the greatest use of his collaborators' talents to separate itself from that direction by blasting off into an atmospheric-sounding two and a half minute long intro before Moore peaks his head in with lyrics about cruising the galaxies. "Illumine" and "Blood Never Lies" and the instrumental "January" likewise fully engage Lubelski and Lattimore in the background to create autumnal, emotionally-driven tracks that could easily be step-siblings to the Sea Change sessions. Suffice to say, Demolished Thoughts is Thurston Moore at his most naked state as a musician. For all it's familiarities with recent Sonic Youth and Beck work topped by a stark, quiet intimacy that avoids the noise, Demolished Thoughts is predictably satisfying.

Thurston Moore's Demolished Thoughts will be released May 24, 2011 on Matador Records.

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