Anyone with any kind of inkling of alternative rock history should be familiar with the name Thurston Moore via the years he spent as the co-creative axis, alongside his former long-term beau Kim Gordon, in the highly influential art rock deity Sonic Youth. The lanky, eternally youthful New Yorker (now residing in London) has struck out on his own before, delivering three previous records under his own name since 1995. This time around Moore has assembled an all-star backing band featuring My Bloody Valentine bassist Deb Googe, Nought guitarist James Sewards, as well as long-term compatriot Steve Shelley from Sonic Youth on drums.
“Playing with this group made we want to create something really positive” is how Moore has described his current musical incantation, and The Best Day is certainly one of his most musically direct creations. That’s not to say that the fat of Sonic Youth’s meandering, experimental tendencies has been totally shed. Many of the tracks clock in at well over the five minute mark and that highly distinctive, discordant guitar tone which very much defined the sound of his parent band still inevitably seeps to the surface more often than not.
Eight minute opener Speak To The Wild commences with a chiming guitar motif before locking into a classic, mid-paced Sonic Youth channeling vibe which twists, builds and implodes on the back of Moore’s melodically off-kilter guitar tones and distinctive vocals, while second track Forevermore lays down an epic, prickly groove that doesn’t let up for its eleven minute duration.
Tape commences with a droning, middle-eastern style raga before descending into a minimalist string-guitar mantra, bringing to mind the American primitivism of pioneering guitarist John Fahey. And Vocabularies follows in a similar accousta-mantric vein, the shadow of the valley of freak folkers such as Six Organs of Admittance hanging ominously in the mists…
Meanwhile title track The Best Day starts off vaguely recalling one of his parent band’s best chugg-along rock moments, Sunday, before a blazing rock solo thrown into the midst morphs the track into something else entirely.
Those looking for something a little more succinct and up-tempo will find salvation within the urgent Detonation, which was originally considered for the title of the album.
And the album’s final track, Germs Burn, is all power-bounce rifferola and blazing J Mascis inspired guitar nirvana and serves as a homage of sorts to Darby Crash, the long lamented singer of seminal late 70’s LA punk band The Germs.
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Thurston Moore’s The Best Day will be released on 20 October via Matador Records… don’t forget that you heard about it here first.