Thurston Moore, once part of the influential ‘noise’ rock band, Sonic Youth, has been collaborating and playing in bands whilst avoiding the use of his name as the bands title, since Sonic Youth’s split for a number of years now. He’s never stopped bringing the noise, he just took a step away from the limelight, allowing time for fans to accept the Youths disbandment.But now he’s ready to throw his name into the limelight once more, bringing his new band, featuring Steve Shelly of Sonic Youth, Debbie Googe from My Bloody Valentine, and the incredibly talented James Sedwards who mixes the sound of The Stooges with Led Zeppelin, to show just why his blend of noise is still a force to be reckoned with.
The new album, The Best Day is a fairly safe return, acting more as a foray back into Thurston’s sound world, but the ‘noise’ rock record gives fans of Sonic Youth’s latter years exactly what they want, layers of noise akin to the Murray Street/Sonic Nurse releases which saw the band lose some of the punk attitude in favour of sweet mature melody’s. ‘Detonation’ still contains some of the punk aggression of old, but overall it’s a pleasing sonic journey, with few surprises, but it doesn’t really matter when the material is so strong. The experimentation can wait till next time.
The Best Day live on the other hand is a different beast. The lyrics and structure are the same, but the soundscapes are unrestrained, wilder and most definitely louder. Thurston has full control of every aspect of the guitar, bringing out fearsome sounds while posing for the cameras, real showmanship. Steve, Debbie and Sedwards complimented Thurston’s play style perfectly, with Steve looking to be having the most fun as he banged his drums, always with a grin on his face. No Youth songs were played, in fact the only old material was left for the two encores, with ‘Ono Soul’ providing the longest and most brutal wave of noise for the night. An ear bleeding finish for a night of euphoric feedback.
Thurston Moore’s new band live shows that there is life after Sonic Youth, with the potential for even greater feats. For now, the safe still manages to display just how noise is done, with Thurston’s guitar feedback moments putting a number of bands I’ve witnessed this year attempting the same, to shame. Anyone can stick a guitar in front of an amp, but Thurston has the experience to deafen a man for days. It really was the best day.