Release date: March 20, 2012
As co-founders of the revered group, Gordon and Moore were often perceived as the first couple of alternative rock. Now, with the possible dissolution of their band on the horizon, what would they, as well as the other longest tenured members of Sonic Youth Lee Ranaldo and Steve Shelley, do with the sudden freedom thrust upon them by such a course of events?
For the time being, the answer appears to be: keep on rockin’.
On his “first song-based solo full-length,” Between the Times and the Tides Ranaldo seems perhaps to be the greatest beneficiary of some time off from the Youth.
“I’m feeling optimistic about the future no matter what happens at this point,” the guitarist and singer told Rolling Stone magazine in November. “I'm kind of thankful that I’ve got this other project that kind of came about on its own.”
And listeners should be thankful too. For Ranaldo’s latest work is easily the most accessible album in the artist’s varied back catalog. Where past records veered into noise experimentation and spoken text performance art, Between the Times and the Tides is more polished and several tracks even appear…*gasp!*…radio-ready.
For instance, the cut “Off the Wall” strides along comfortably on a sturdy groove complete with acoustic and electric guitar flourishes for color. The song’s three minute and four second running time even lets the lyrical rush of phrases like “I just saw a rainbow fall into the floor” pass by quickly instead of overstaying their welcome.
Watch the official video for “Off the Wall” from Lee Ranaldo’s new solo album here:
Elsewhere, six-minute plus slow-burners like the opening number “Waiting On a Dream” and “Xtina As I Knew Her” possess the same majesty as Sonic Youth standouts “Teenage Riot” and “Hey Joni” (also written by Ranaldo).
Though many hardcore fans will no doubt continue to long for Ranaldo to rejoin Moore and Gordon for a full-fledged Sonic reunion, they shouldn’t hold their breath. Lee’s newest project more than suffices for the moment.
Plus, like Ranaldo sings in his album closing finale “Tomorrow never comes.”
Let’s just enjoy the present while we can.
For more information on Lee Ranaldo or to see future tour dates please visit www.sonicyouth.com/symy/lee/.
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