Sonic Youth’s Thurston Moore’s solo album revels in sweet dissonance

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Thurston Moore is the poster child for the alternative music scene. It’s in his very blood to antagonize, enflame and push musical confines, yielding results that have caused music fans everywhere to regard him as a grunge hero. His success can only be attributed to his blatant disregard for the rigid rules of music. He chooses to take a route of discord and intentionally waves the flag of blase attitudes.

The Best Day, despite its oddly optimistic title, latches onto Moore’s love affair with frictional sound. Moore is definitely playing homage to his Sonic Youth roots with the garage rock riffs and grungy vocals. Disharmonious guitar wailings just barely out of tune fill the record, causing it to brim with punky brilliance.

“Speak to the Wild” opens with jangly and soft guitar plucks, sliding into the steady grooves of muted percussion. As one of the longer tracks — clocking in at eight minutes — it proclaims Moore’s dramatic return to the alternative music scene. Despite its length, the song doesn’t get bogged down with meandering musings. It is borderline hypnotic, capturing attention and bringing the listener into another world filled with grunge and alternative fantasies. In deep contrast, “Vocabularies” transports one to the side of a lake: Birds chirp in and out of the trees while Moore begins to play the steady guitar melodies of a slow rock ballad.

It picks right back up from where Sonic Youth had left off, lapping up the heavy percussion and the rumbling bass that is just off-kilter enough to evoke sweet dissonance. Glittering guitar disharmonies Sonic Youth had become quite known for serve as an enormous influence on the record, exhibited especially within “Germs Burn,” the final track on the record.

The songs are rather long, with “Forevermore” practically going on forever more at 11 minutes, which for some may be unappealing. Yet for others, and for Moore himself, these lengthy tunes ring as a true call of one who has mastered the art of the controlled yet rambling guitar riff.

Although built up anger and tension are not the motivating forces of the album, there are still moments of insanity behind this record. “He lives for now on the edge of a knife / And you know he doesn’t like to be cut,” Moore speak-sings on the title track. It’s dark and edgy, heralding his intense return with a silent, rage-induced fervor.

Each track hasn’t been overdone or fretted over; rather, they have been left to themselves, resulting in the freewheeling nature of the album. It is the perfect synthesis of discomfort and harmony. And Moore fortunately knows exactly what he’s doing.

Contact Kayla Oldenburg at [email protected].