Originally published in Linoleum Magazine June 2006
Alright, alright, I’ll admit it. The follow-up to Sonic Nurse is a perfectly decent record, all flowering pop hooks, glassy guitar lines and addictive melodies.
Tracks like “Reena,” “Incinerate” and the instrumental “Pink Steam,” like the Pell Mell songs they sometimes resemble, were bred to pour out of car windows cruising down some nameless highway.
But, really, after roughly 25 years of being dubbed one of the kings of experimental indie-rock, haven’t we come to expect more from Sonic Youth?
Sure, there’s moments where the group cuts loose and slivers of their more daring selves slide through — the feedback-squalor intro of “Sleepin’ Around,” the budding noise-seques of “Rats,” the mournful lurch of the album-closing “Or” — but these are more the exception than the rule.
More for the Sonic Youth completist and devotee than the wandering listener.