Thursday, 26 March 2009

after SENSATIONAL FIX the exhibition comes THE ETERNAL the album

the youth are back – and very inspired, i must say!

leaving geffen records – basically because the major label was not beneficial nor harmful for the band – to record their first album for indie landmark label matador might have been debit to the freedom with which sonic youth attack the material on ‘the eternal’. there’s a teaser of the record made for newsweek that condenses the 56’34” album in 2'34" of sonic sound, which in itself is a great collage in the spirit of likes such as john cage, but doesn’t give you a real clue about the album’s content. receiving my promo copy yesterday unravelled the mystery of the teaser for me. here’s a first reaction to what my ears fed my brain listening to the album in its entirety.

the first song, ‘sacred trickster’, opens with atonal sonic chord strokes that go over in an up-tempo rocking song with kim chanting as a first line “i want you to levitate me...”. what a start! it’s straightforwardness in just 2’11” is contrasted by the following song, 'anti-orgasm' (6’08”), which already showcases new developments in the band’s sound explored on the album: the focus on the use of vocals and vocal harmonies combined with the bass back up that mark ibold provides. kim and thurston or kim, lee and thurston sing verses and/or choruses together or phrases in answer to each other on much of the album, and the three vocalists are further present with back up vox and harmonies. this may sound scary to hardcore SY fans, but it really adds great richness to the songs and opens up the possibilities first explored in 1987 in ‘cotton crown’.

beautiful dual-guitar sonic soundscapes are poured out over us in songs such as ‘antenna’ (6’13”), ‘malibu gas station’ (5’39”), lee’s ‘walkin blue’ (5’21”), or the 9’43” end song ‘massage the history’. ‘thunderclap for bobby pyn’ is a punky thurston sung 2’39” elegy for darby crash (aka bobby pyn), co-founder of the germs, who committed suicide in 1980. lee’s ‘what we know’ (3’54”) last phrase is: ‘that’s what we know about us’. Well, they know, but for the fans there’s a whole lot to explore and get to know about SY on ‘the eternal’!

it would be my democratic belief that each and everyone of you should be able to listen to this great album right now as well, but unfortunately that is not yet possible. why not post it online? well, it’s also my belief that artists should get paid for their work, so in nowadays download culture i’d buy the official download offer from matador, already available on 28 april instead of 9 june, the release date for the double vinyl or cd.

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