Thursday, April 23, 2009

Sacred Trickster

So I heard the new Sonic Youth single, "Sacred Trickster".

In late November 2008, Matador Records announced that seminal indie rock/noise/experimental/alternative/no wave band Sonic Youth had signed to their label, with a new album in the works for 2009. After Geffen/DGC/Universal/whatever name you want to use had, according to a Thurston Moore, failed to properly support and promote their last few albums the band opted not to renew their contract and began shopping around the indie labels. The mainstream acclaim the band gathered with the release of Rather Ripped and its more straight-forward rock structure and more "mature" sound, made it seem as if they were ready to settle into a new niche as underground rock's first family. While the move from Geffen was not entirely a surprise, the timing seemed off. They had just released their most conventional rock album since 1994's Experimental, Jet Set, Trash and No Star, and had made one of their best debuts on the Billboard charts.

Fast forward to 2009. Matador issues a promotional copy of "Sacred Trickster". "Trickster" has Kim Gordon covering vocal duties, and is reminiscent of the material from Rather Ripped; it's short (clocking in at a scant 2:10), melodic, and features more err... conventional guitar parts (and by that, I mean it doesn't sound like any drums sticks were used on this song, except by Steve Shelley). To be honest I'm a little disappointed. I first got into Sonic Youth in 2001 or 2002, eventually working my way through a majority of their back catalog right before the release of Murray Street. I have distinct memories of not being able to get into their Summer Stage show in Central Park, listening to "Karen Revisited" in the dead heat of summer, associating the murky chord progression of Thurston Moore with humidity and the shift from abrasive noise to ambient feedback that ends the song with summer sunsets, and trying to figure out why my other people my age weren't into this kind of stuff. I've always been more of a fan of their longer songs. Their first few albums on Geffen didn't do much for me, and neither did Rather Ripped. I may be in the minority on that one though.

Anyway, I'm definitely ready to give the album a shot, again, this is only the single but I have to say I am a little let down. It's not bad by any stretch. Just a little predictable, kind of boring. Maybe that just comes with age? I guess we'll see in June when The Eternal drops.

I'd give the song a 3 out of 5.

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