Thurston Moore is, feel free to close your window or tab now. I don't mean to be a dick, but Sonic Youth largely created the landscape of indie pop we now enjoy and Thurston, well, he made Sonic Youth into Sonic Youth. If you're confusing him with island millionaire and jacket-wearing mainstay Thurston Howell III, I salute your knowledge, but decry its application. And if you held out past that first "angry professor on the first day of a college course" style sentence, you got a little background delivered right into your beautiful craw, free of charge. Demolished Thoughts, Moore's fourth solo album is a beautiful, sprawling and elegant achievement in acoustic rock. Produced, and influenced, by Beck, yes that Beck, it has flavors of country, folk, and soaring orchestral music. It's also vibrantly, incredibly and staggeringly poetic. This is soul repairing music, demonstrating supreme immediacy and intimacy with each plucked guitar string, delicate note and chord, bow-sweep and the deep, whispering breathiness of Moore's voice.
Opening with the gorgeous, thoughtful and somber "Benediction," Demolished Thoughts immediately confronts love and loss and forgiveness. Moore's sense and skill in songwriting is immense and largely unmatched, and with this track, we are gifted with a calm, roaming guitar backed by sparsely used, masterful strings. It's a dream and a cry-fest.
On "Illuminine" the tone remains largely the same, sticking to soft vocals and more beautiful, delicate imagery. Moore utters many of the words with a sort of pained, appreciative breath, as if describing a sublime greatness that leaves him in awe even as it terrifies him. Rock occurs when "Circulation" begins. Moore pummels the strings of his acoustic guitar and sings with some of the passion and urgency we remember from Sonic Youth. It's a powerful, charging track, but what really defines it is a long tapering outro that plucks and dances its way back to a quieter place, and that place is "Blood Never Lies." Incredibly, Moore continues that long outro by feeding in with a prolonged, ornate intro setting up possible the most gorgeous track on the whole album. It's refrain of the titular phrase, so pained and honest, so dark and somber, is as haunting as it is masterful. "Orchard Street" picks up the pace a bit, living by a strongly hit bass line amid the chords. It has a dark, Echo and the Bunnymen quality, especially as growling cellos accent between the verses. And it's flourishing, uncontrollable, orchestral jam-out ending is wonderful. "In Silver Rain With A Paper Key" brings out the throaty-er Moore vocals, and parades more fantastic lyrics like the following in the fifth verse: "I seem to recall sometimes last fall/ Brown leaves crowned around your head/ Now I'm back in town and I'm looking around/ Will I ever see your eyes again?"
"Mina Loy" is about as dark as the album gets, riding the sort of eastern style first brought to fame by the Rolling Stones "Paint It Black," but done with greater care and elegance. It's a song that pummels the listener with dramatic uppercuts and right hooks. "Space" enjoys a long intro, and fills in the eventual verses with free-form, meandering poetry that travels great distances with each word, while maintaining a toehold on the ground and "January" closes the album on a charming, sprawling note of rebirth, with fantastic harp accents. Demolished Thoughts is really as great as an acoustic album can get, and despite some of the extended intros and self-indulgent guitar riffs sounding similar over time, or feeling a little overdone, it's an album that should be in any indie archivist's collection. And if the acoustic guitar folk/rock genre is in your wheelhouse, you will love it. This is a rainy day album that feels good in a summer breeze and will never let you down.
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