Thurston Moore’s “Demolished Thoughts” Is No Sonic Youth Album (But That’s a Good Thing)

Sonic Youth Performs in Concert in Madrid (Photo by Juan Naharro Gimenez/Getty Images)

Rock stars are people too, and, even though you’ve built your name on being loud and distorted, sometimes you get older and just want to make a folk album. That’s the case most recently with [lastfm]Sonic Youth[/lastfm] guitarist and vocalist [lastfm]Thurston Moore[/lastfm], who’s fourth solo album Demolished Thoughts comes out today. While it may not be exactly what you’d expect from the guy that brought you Daydream Nation, the album, produced masterfully by [lastfm]Beck[/lastfm], is bold exploration into 21st century folk music.

This isn’t at all to say that [lastfm]Thurston Moore[/lastfm] has lost his edge, his guitar playing is still top notch – it’s just acoustic now. Nor has he lost his creativity, the songs are expressive and the instrumentation is solid. Along with producer [lastfm]Beck[/lastfm], Moore has crafted an album that sounds like [lastfm]Nick Drake[/lastfm] updated for the 21st century (but more “Bryter Layter” [lastfm]Nick Drake[/lastfm] than “Pink Moon” [lastfm]Nick Drake[/lastfm]), which is as high of a compliment I can think of.

[lastfm]Sonic Youth[/lastfm] fans looking for more of that group’s noisy indie rock will be disappointed with Demolished Thoughts, but, of course, that’s missing the point. [lastfm]Thurston Moore[/lastfm] isn’t going to make [lastfm]Sonic Youth[/lastfm] records for the rest of his life. He’s a musician, an artist, and is pushing his craft in new directions. “In Silver Rain with a Paper Key” for example, with string bass section, distant sounding harp and meandering guitar is a stunning example of the new folk territory Moore is charting. The atmospherics of these songs – “Paper Key” sounds like Moore is playing from deep in a cave by the ocean – and the way they truly come together and exist as more than the sum of their parts indicates their strength. “Space” is another example of this strong sense of atmospherics, with an ethereal sound that goes perfectly in hand with the song’s title and subject matter. As producer, [lastfm]Beck[/lastfm] deserves a lot of credit here. His own folk album Sea Change is definitely a touchstone.

In short, Demolished Thoughts is a great collaboration between two of the 90s most influential musicians and a great step forward for [lastfm]Thurston Moore[/lastfm] as a solo musician.

If you like what you hear, check out Demolished Thoughts available now at iTunes and Amazon.

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