Solo projects from beloved cultural icons are always difficult to review. The musicians generally use the time alone to experiment with new sounds, new directions and new ideas that probably wouldn’t fit into the scope of their own band. Much like super groups, solo projects and side projects can be disappointing to fans who, let’s be honest, don’t really handle change that well. Thurston Moore’s (@demoedthoughts) Demolished Thoughts, while an extraordinarily beautiful piece of work, is not a Sonic Youth album in anyway.
The record, produced by Beck Hensen, is intricate and layered, like the best of his band’s catalog, but it’s also delicate, gorgeous and folky. The fact that Moore can effortlessly move from the noise of Sonic Youth to the calm of Demolished Thoughts isn’t surprising. Underneath the dissonance and static of every Sonic Youth song is a strong base. What Moore gives on this record is the base: the calm waters that he usually sets wild. The opener ”Benediction”, with strings weaving in and out of the light guitars, feels like a lost track from Beck’s Sea Change. Moore gently coos his lyrics, creating soft Nick Drake-esq folk pop with every song.
This album is by no means populated with typical folk songs. They are wide, sprawling tracks that expand and contract. The aptly titled “Space”, at nearly 7 minutes, feels infinitely huge, while a more classic song like “Circulation” fits neatly into its immaculately packed box. The instruments bend and fold into each other on every song, swirling and layering together like the best of the sounds from Moore’s other, more famous, project.
The idea that someone so influential, who has released so many extraordinary albums for nearly three decades, can release another surprisingly different and truly wonderful record is very rare today. But Thurston Moore is, well, Thurston Moore. There can only be brilliance expected from him, because that’s all he knows how to deliver.
From The Wild Honey Pie, 6/29/2011: http://www.thewildhoneypie.com/thurston-moores-demolished-thoughts-8-0/