BY FRED MILLS
The Best Day finds Moore in “accessible” mode while still chock-full of his blazing fretwork and trademark dissonance-mongering. Joining him are SY drummer Steve Shelley, My Bloody Valentine bassist Deb Googe and guitarist James Sedwards as de facto surrogate Youths, crafting what by some measures could be viewed as the overdue successor to SY’s 2002 classic Murray Street.
Not even counting the many albums he cut with SY, Moore has released scores of records since the early ‘90s ranging from collaborative free jazz projects and experimental noise/drone recordings to “proper” solo albums rooted as equally in his songwriting and singing as his guitar slinging. This new one falls in the latter category, the more-or-less followup to 2011’s Demolished Thoughts (or, if you want to nit-pick, 2013’s Chelsea Light Moving, which was credited to Chelsea Light Moving but was clearly a Moore-helmed outfit). On track after track—for example, opening tune “Speak to the Wild”—Moore is heard tapping and chiming his axe, uncoiling elliptical riffs downright trance-inducing; he marshals the players in tightly-focused march to a noisy peak followed by a gradual denouement. Other songs are no less hypnotic—the droning, 12-string powered “Tape”; the aptly-titled punk/garage dissonance of “Detonation”; blazing, effects-strewn psychedelic instrumental “Grace Lake.”
In sum, The Best Day is the Sonic Youth album that Sonic Youth fans feared would never happen in the wake of the band’s split in 2011 (which itself followed in the wake of Thurston Moore and Kim Gordon’s marriage breakup). Clearly, Moore has become restless over the past few years, and we, his fans, are the beneficiaries of that restlessness.
DOWNLOAD: “Grace Lake,” “Tape,” “Speak to the Wild”