Highlights: Groovy & Linda, Burroughs, Frank O’Hara Hit
Having said all that in my previous review, I’m now doing Chelsea Light Moving, which is basically a band that is as Sonic Youth-like sounding as you can possibly get. However, all comparisons are immaterial: Chelsea Light Moving is the new project of Thurston Moore, the man who actually formed Sonic Youth and has over the years been the band’s principal guitarist and songwriter. So I hope there are no questions as to what this album sounds like…
It’s very simple: Thurston Moore doing his thing here. Noisy, groovy, incredibly tight guitar racket. Lots of flashy, colourful riffage combined with the occasional mellower, warmer moment. Stylistically, there’s next to no variation; well, the opening “Heavenmetal” is a very pretty almost-ballad, and I guess the closing “Communist Eyes” could be labeled as hardcore punk, but you don’t need the details. The details you need are all in the guitars. Also, great songwriting is hardly a talking point here, but then Chelsea Light Moving is a physical listen rather than a mental one. In terms of highlights, the powerful “Burroughs” is sheer mindblowing intensity that never gets boring. The lowlight is definitely the seven-minute long “Mohawk”, which is not offensive, but ends up a monotonous spoken-word groove of no consequence.
Overall, an exciting listen. It’s of course tempting to see Chelsea Light Moving as a second-tier Sonic Youth album. And there’s truth in that; however, it is also a great second-tier Sonic Youth album, which was probably all we could get at this point. The album sounds good. “Burroughs” is a classic.