Monday, December 26, 2011

Album Review: Sonic Youth – Dirty

As grunge took off in the early 90s, Sonic Youth got Butch Vig to produce 1992’s Dirty. Opening track (and first single) 100% is a somewhat sludgy track. It’s followed up by Kim Gordon singing a sort of riot grrrl anthem Swimsuit Issue. Far better is the slow-building Theresa’s Sound-world, perfectly paced guitars over a moody Thurston Moore vocal in the ‘verse’ portion of the song which builds to a climax as Steve Shelley pounds the drums and the guitars go apeshit before returning to the opening motif. It’s a perfectly constructed song, almost like a 90s Velvet Underground.

Shoot is a relatively low key track with a (mostly) understated Kim Gordon vocal, before Lee Ranaldo gets his curtain call on Wish Fulfillment. Sugar Kane pounds its way along with heavenly riffs and a nice freakout in the middle, while Youth Against Fascism growls along nicely.

On The Strip returns to Theresa’s Sound-world territory, Gordon on vocals this time, while later Purr kicks up a real storm, riffing along at breakneck speed.

Although overlong at 15 tracks and 59 minutes, and a little patchy, the actual musicianship on these songs, with some superb midsections (Chapel Hill amongst them) that set them apart from their contemporaries.