Sonic Youth have produced a few less than twenty albums in twenty years; and with their latest effort, have drawn distinction cast in immortality. While Sonic Nurse doesn’t break new ground for the group, it is a masterpiece. Most similar to 2002’s Murray Street, it shows streamlined progression for the band; not necessarily reinventing Sonic Youth, but as the band changes with every passing year, their music is a reflection of their transition.
Don’t expect Sonic Youth to come back with this release creating a redesign of 1988s highly successful Daydream Nation because it is not happening now and it isn’t happening later. The success of many earlier records has allowed the band creative freedom and their impetuosity inundates Sonic Nurse. Sonic Youth does not create records in order to be conventionally “successful” because they do not need to be. The band continues to press on and is now exploring different sounds and has no intention of moving backwards. Sonic Nurse is a form of artistic expression that radiates beyond the music itself into a world of its own. It is a world with sharp contrasting colors filled with a sense of lonely passion.
“Pattern Recognition” is an upbeat start for the record and creates anticipation for the songs to come. The album has a cleaner feel than recent releases but “Dripping Dream” is a return to the classic noise of Sonic Youth. The opposing clean sound of the piano is a lively addition, while “New Hampshire” evinces unmatched guitar work with a beat that is intoxicating. Despite the length of the songs, which at a glance seem a bit drawn out, the extended helpings fit integrally with the feel of the music.
The hook in “Paper Cup Exit” made me push repeat; which is surprising considering the song is nearly six minutes long. There are two main vocalists who, rather than singing together, sing their own songs separately. Both are very talented and bring a fresh approach and new sound to each song. The vocals of Kim Gordon on “I Love You Golden Blue,” are mesmerizing and bring a desperate sadness to the track. She is a majestic singer and equally, a noteworthy songwriter.
Sonic Youth are Gods amongst indie rock bands, and they continue to live up to inconceivable expectations. They have influenced just about every band imaginable and with an always progressing style, can influence a new generation of musicians and listeners with their latest release. Sonic Nurse is amazing and inspirational work; worth a few thousand spins in any CD player.