Thurston Moore - Rock N Roll Consciousness album review

The Sonic Youth guitarist’s busman’s holiday continues

Cover art for Thurston Moore - Rock N Roll Consciousness album

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With Lee Ranaldo and Thurston Moore sharing joint custody of drummer Steve Shelley in the wake of Sonic Youth’s possibly permanent but definitely ongoing hiatus, fans of the New York art rockers have certainly been getting more bang for their buck. Having relocated to London and continuing with the direction started on his previous album, The Best Day, Moore, along with My Bloody Valentine’s Deb Goodge (bass) and guitarist James Sedwards (Chrome Hoof) and the aforementioned Shelley, is displaying a fine linear growth with Rock N Roll Consciousness.

With five tracks in just over 42 minutes, you’d be forgiven for taking this album as an exercise in over-indulgence but it’s the opposite that’s true. Eschewing the experimentation of his previous solo work in favour of the song-based approach of Sonic Youth, Moore and his colleagues have mapped out an aural excursion that takes in multiple points of interest.

The 12 minutes of opener Exalted fly by thanks to a series of instrumental sections that build and grow on each other as elsewhere Cusp is U2’s Where The Streets Have No Name forced through an alternately tuned prism. At this rate, Sonic Youth can have as much time off as they want.

Julian Marszalek

Julian Marszalek is the former Reviews Editor of The Blues Magazine. He has written about music for Music365, Yahoo! Music, The Quietus, The Guardian, NME and Shindig! among many others. As the Deputy Online News Editor at Xfm he revealed exclusively that Nick Cave’s second novel was on the way. During his two-decade career, he’s interviewed the likes of Keith Richards, Jimmy Page and Ozzy Osbourne, and has been ranted at by John Lydon. He’s also in the select group of music journalists to have actually got on with Lou Reed. Marszalek taught music journalism at Middlesex University and co-ran the genre-fluid Stow Festival in Walthamstow for six years.