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Sonic Youth - Rather Ripped

  by Jon Rogers

published: 25 / 5 / 2006

Sonic Youth - Rather Ripped
Label: Select Label
Format: CD


Impressive new album from Sonic Youth, which, despite being their most conventional and straightforward record in some years, finds them having lost little of their explosive edge

Over almost 25 years Sonic Youth have continued to change and adapt, shifting from their downtown New York, loft art-rock days to the more established terrain of their later years as they have moved away from their youth and into the Sunday colour supplements. Despite their inescapable move towards middle age and the loss of their youth the band - now back to a quartet - have still managed to retain some sonic attributes. Recorded at the start of the year following the departure of Jim O'Rourke 'Rather Ripped' is their most conventional album for some time and contains what could easily be seen as straightforward songs - well, as straightforward as Sonic Youth get. Apart from the wailing guitar feedback that introduces 'Sleepin Around' the rest of the song's structure is conservative in style - with a guitar wig out thrown in the middle. There's plenty on 'Rather Ripped' though that will please long term fans. Bassist Kim Gordon - recently featured in The Sunday Times 'Style' section - anchors the songs and supplies her usual breathy vocals on songs like the opener 'Reena' and 'What a Waste'. Steve Shelley maintains an even keel with his light but insistent drumming while Lee Ranaldo and Thurston Moore supply the knife-sharp guitar parts. There are examples of Sonic Youth's experimental, art-rock days but 'Rather Ripped' is noticeable for its restraint and emphasis on tunes and songs. Moore even describes the album as a "super song record". At times the band even manage to give Tom Verlaine a run for his money in the melody stakes. 'Do You Believe in Rapture?' harks back to songs such as 'The Diamond Sea'. That's not to say that Sonic Youth have mellowed. 'Rats', for example, snarls and spits backed by some free-form guitar noodlings, while 'Incinerate' does exactly that. 'Rather Ripped' may be no match for the band's heyday of albums like 'Daydream Nation', 'Evol' and 'Sister' but is far better than most of their major label outings.

Track Listing:-
1 Reena
2 Incinerate
3 Do You Believe In Rapture?
4 Sleepin' Around
5 What A Waste
6 Jams Runs Free
7 Rats
8 Turquoise Boy
9 Lights Out
10 The Neutral
11 Pink Steam
12 Or
13 Helen Lundeberg
14 Eyeliner

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