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Sonic Youth - Sonic Nurse

  by Mark Rowland

published: 12 / 4 / 2004

Sonic Youth - Sonic Nurse
Label: Geffen
Format: CD


19th album from the ever impressive Sonic Youth, which finds them as "strong a band as they ever were" and still capable of turning heads

It’s incredible to think that Sonic Youth have been going for as long as they have. Recent releases, such as 2002’s ‘Murray Street’, are just as good as anything the band released in the 80's or early 90's, and the band still ooze the coolness of a much younger band. New album ‘Sonic Nurse’ is the band’s 19th album to date and it still sounds a lot stronger than the albums of several current ‘hot’ bands. Again, the band has got a well known artist to supply their cover art, this time getting Richard Prince to provide them with a picture. As the album title suggests, Prince gave them one of his pictures from his infamous nurse paintings series, pictures of defaced covers of old pulp fiction novels featuring nurses in its title. ‘Dude Ranch Nurse’, as well as being a title of a track on ‘Sonic Nurse’, is the name of one of Prince’s nurse paintings. ‘Sonic Nurse’ mixes the more laid back sounds of ‘Murray Street’ with the discordant and more overtly arty sound of 1995’s ‘Washing Machine’, which gives the album an extra kick that could get more people taking notice than around other recent albums. Opener ‘Pattern Recognition’ is a classic example of the ‘Youth’s fast paced songs, with Kim Gordon’s breathy vocals floating over a wall of guitar noise. It isn’t just noise for noise sake however, as the song boasts a great tune and a nice quieter guitar interlude reminiscent of the intro to ‘Daydream Nation’ opener ‘Teen Age Riot’. The pace then slows for ‘Unmade Bed’, a gentle, hook-laden track. The seven minute ‘The Dripping Dream’ combines tunefulness with noise perfectly, with a great guitar melody line over the top of screeching feedback. The album continues from where it kicked off, bursting into detuned noise one track, gliding beautifully the next. ‘Mariah Carey and Arthur Doyle’ seems to be an attack on modern pop stars, while closing track ‘Peace Attack’ takes a few swipes at the Bush government and their attitudes to art and homosexuality. ‘Sonic Nurse’ proves that Sonic Youth are as strong a band as they ever were. Hopefully, it could see a few more heads turning their way this year.

Track Listing:-
1 Pattern Recognition
2 Unmade Bed
3 Dripping Dream
4 Kim Gordon And The Arthur Doyle Hand Cream
5 Stones
6 Dude Ranch Nurse
7 New Hampshire
8 Paper Cup Exit
9 I Love You Golden Blue
10 Peace Attack

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Interview with Steve Shelley (2004)
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Remaining constantly inventive, Sonic Youth are soon to release their nineteenth album, 'Sonic Nurse'. Mark Rowland talks to drummer Steve Shelley about its creation,and their recent turn as curators at the All Tomorrow's Parties alternative rock festiva

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