El Segell del Primavera Publishing
I’ve said it before and I’ll here say it again – whatever happens with Sonic Youth it’s been pleasing hearing from Lee Ranaldo – still the improvisations and experimentation but he’s knocked out a couple of pretty great records already, song-based records that is. The “George Harrison” of Sonic Youth proving himself with these records.
The second album almost suffered from being a little too similar to the one that arrived just a year before it; both worked though because they were filled with strong songs – it almost felt like a double-album released in separate parts, the best way for people to get their head around a plethora of ideas. I should point to Glacial’s On Jones Beach too – because that album (a trio featuring Ranaldo with David Watson and The Necks’ Tony Buck) was fucking extraordinary – and is just one example that the harnessing of noise is still part of his agenda, not for him to just mid-life crisis it with aims – finally – of being taken seriously as some underrated singer/songwriter.
So here’s another string to his bow then – a set of acoustic sessions recorded last year, released just now – a great organic feel to this, whether covering Neil Young (Revolution Blues), Sandy Denny (Bushes and Briars) or Mike Nesmith (You Just May Be The One). Lovely song choices, all – and beautifully done. Then there’s the originals. Songs from 2012’s Between The Times and The Tides and 2013’s Last Night On Earth – Shouts (from Tides) sounds even more R.E.M.-esque in its stripped down version, Stranded (also from Tides) meanders beautifully – like something we might expect from David Kilgour. And the Last Night material works perfectly here too Key/Hole is a highlight of this new record, Last Night’s title track is the album opener here – and it almost feels like something James Taylor might knock up now. (That’s a compliment, perhaps I have to clarify that). Late Descent #2 is another R.E.M. moment and Home Chds – here served up to close out the album has Ranaldo’s easy croon floating over the band – no truncated version here, cascades of guitar and the taut-but-loping drum-feel.
It’s all lovely.
And this offers something different – a new sound emerging even if built from the parts of past albums and covers. He’s on one hell of a roll right now. Nailing it all.