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Thurston Moore
The Best Day
Matador Records / Playground

Thurston Moore is clever, he is smart, and he is an exciting and a distinct artist. Three (or almost 3 1/2) years after his brilliant, Beck-produced (Beck-infused) Demolished Thoughts (on Matador label, 2011) he puts out his 4th, or maybe 5th album (if counting 1998's Root, his multimedia project holding 25 one-minute, improvised guitar pieces). Again, Moore dives into the deep end of his pool of creativity. Again he performs his gentle hum, hiss, snap, crackle and pop. Like his label states: '...the album radiates with both his signature thrashing electric guitars as well as blissful 12-string acoustic ballads.'

The Best Day spins through eight songs in some 50 minutes, and Moore is backed by his Sonic Youth (SY) partner Steve Shelley (on drums), Deb Googe of My Bloody Valentine (on bass), and James Sedwards of Nought (on guitar). The two opening songs, "Speak To The Wild" and "Forevermore" last for almost 20 minutes, and from the very first second there is no doubt that this is the musical world of Moore. The distinguished, whip-smart and cool guitar sound, which is one of his trademarks, as well as his dead cool, laidback vocals. If you like the songs of Thurston Moore, either solo or his massive back catalogue with SY... well, here comes more of the same. Razor-sharp and edgy songs, with tight arrangements as well as smooth and sedative layers of guitar. The pace and sound of the Sonic Youth-ish "Forevermore" - the album's longest track - is perfectly executed. Is this his definitive statement to lost love (Kim G.?), or is it about some new crush, or a new passion? 'Draw a circle in the holy fortress. The silent souls that seek your soul kiss. Fireflies come to life in church lights. Spirit minds reflect in your eyes. That's why I love you forevermore..[...]..that's why I want you forevermore'. It is a swaying track with long-stretched (perfectly) monotonous instrumental parts. If the somewhat folky (or, rather warped and twangy) "Tape" is about love and affection. It is probably his passion for the tape (as in music cassette) format. When I listen to, say the title track, and a few other of Moore's songs, I come to think of Tom Verlaine and his band Television - another legendary New York band (from the 1970s, back when punk broke for the first time). There is something about the voice of Moore (sometimes) being quite similar to the voice of Verlaine. Even the guitar playing of Verlaine (and even from Television's second guitarist, Richard Lloyd) resembles Moore's guitar style/sound. Not all of The Best Day's parts/tracks hit me (or reach me, or touch my emotional heart and soul). If you're asking me, this new album does not reach the height of Demolished Thoughts. Nevertheless, this is another ace performance by Moore.

When Moore and his cohorts recently played a show at London's Café Oto (Dalston, London). UNCUT said this about the live performance (and the songs from The Best Day): "The album is excellent, and these live versions are muscular and digressive. Great songs, and a sense that Moore has found fresh inspiration in N16 [which is a North London area - editor's note] with his latest, formidable accomplices." Thurston Moore is one of the godfathers, or rather grand-uncles of alternative rock, and/or all that can be tagged as experimentation and/or experimental, playful improvisation in rock'n'roll. But, mind you: he has dealt with publishing and poetry as well, and he even teaches writing, at Naropa University, in Boulder, Colorado. This is a school (A.K.A. Jack Kerouac School, or: Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics) which was founded by the alternative poets (the Beat poets) Allen Ginsberg and Anne Waldman, in 1974. Moore is a punk beat poet by heart and nature. He has been dealing with the whole spectre of music, from acoustic compositions, via punky, metallic and powerful hard-core rock, gliding into more of a white noise disruption aspect. He has been doing all this for ages, and he still holds on to his position in rock: as one of alt.rock's grand, old men. A gentleman, that is. Respect. Moore is a living legend, as SY's Daydream Nation was chosen by the Library of Congress (USA's national heritage library) for historical preservation in the National Recording Registry some 8 years ago. Peace, pop and disharmony, on and on and on. Forever, or rather forevermore.

Copyright © 2014 Håvard Oppøyen e-mail address

You may also want to check out our Thurston Moore articles/reviews: Benediction, Demolished Thoughts.

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