So Thurston Moore moves into some kind of musician’s shared flat in London and meets up with this dude who was also living there, or hanging out there, or something, James Sedwards, guitar genius and founder of UK noise band, Nought. A chain of events leads to Thurston eventually forming a band comprised of Sedwards on co-lead guitar, Deb Googe from My Bloody Valentine on bass, and Thurston’s old band mate from several years back, Steve Shelley on the skins. And they jam. Make a record. Tour. Pure rock ‘n’ roll mythology.
Moore has always trafficked in examinations of rock ‘n’ roll mythology. It’s not what I’d say he does best, but you can tell he’s having fun doing it, and among his contemporaries, I can’t really think of anyone else who does it nearly as well, or with more sincerity, and more engagingly.
The opening track is the 8 1/2 minute anthem, “Speak to the Wild,” with Moore anthemically announcing that ‘the king has come to join the band’ after commanding us to ‘protect your child from empty empire.’ This is classic Thurston Moore, and the band is so incredibly tight, yet restrained, until they bust into the requisite noise jam. Did you really expect an 8 1/2 minute Thurston Moore song to NOT have a noise jam?
The second track, “Forevermore”, is even longer, 11 minutes, chill, interesting lyrics that are superficially somewhat incomprehensible at times, wordplays, rhymes, “I want you forevermore.” It has a really decent jam in the middle, never gets extremely noisy, it’s compositionally intricate, and the entire song seemed to go by pretty quickly. The first two songs would both be standout tracks on any late period Sonic Youth album. This is getting REALLY interesting.
At this point, I’m going to just say that, while hearing the third song, “Tape” that I give this album 5 stars, or a Pitchfork 9.9 (That .1 is the standard deviation in my rating system. Only Daydream Nation gets a perfect 10). As far as I’m concerned, when you’re talking about albums that sound this good 3 songs in by a band who, when I saw them at the Great American Music Hall in SF on October 7th 2014, with a full moon outside, blew me the fuck away, well there’s no real reason to put a fixed ‘value’ on the album, a fucking rating. Because that’s just kind of stupid.
Finally! “Grace Lake” was my favorite song when I saw them. Track 7. Chills. Now go listen.