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Sonic Youth - The Destroyed Room

  by Jon Rogers

published: 5 / 1 / 2007

Sonic Youth - The Destroyed Room
Label: Universal Music
Format: CD


Largely instrumental and experimental, but rewarding compilation of outtakes, leftovers and odds and sods from Sonic Youth released to clear out their major label cupboard

Contractual obligation filler from New York’s finest noiseniks. Really the subtitle says all you need to know, 'The Destroyed Room' is a compilation of outtakes, leftovers and odds and sods as the band clear out their major label cupboard. In fact 'The Destroyed Room' is something of an oddity, not quite fitting in anywhere but managing to show off the band’s more experimental edge. This largely instrumental album is a world away from the band’s more commercially-minded offerings like 'Goo' and often sounds like something a stoned Brian Eno might attempt after reading William Burroughs’ novels during a bad drugs trip. It draws on spaced-out electronica, art-rock doodlings and experimentation as well as a gleeful desire to crank-up the decibels and simply let rip from time to time. The short but sweet 'Razor Blade' has Kim Gordon sounding like she’s just off to bed it’s so laid back and the ensuing 'Blink' barely rises from its somnambulistic state. Much more like an outtake from the band’s self-released SYR albums is 'Campfire', a minimalist piece from 2000 built around radio static and washes of synth and not a lot else. One query that remains unanswered is the inclusion here of 'Kim’s Chords' and the following 'Beautiful Plateau', both of which are bonus tracks from 2003’s Japanese print of 'Sonic Nurse'. If they are good enough for the Japanese market then why weren’t they contained in the US and European releases at the time? Someone is being shortchanged. The album though ends on a high note with an extended version – and at almost 26 minutes it really is extended - of 'The Diamond Sea' from 'Washing Machine'. Really this means taking the original song and adding on a lengthy instrumental guitar section. Despite that description it sounds much better than that and is really the highlight of the album. Anyone investigating the band for the first time isn’t really advised to start here – go back to the likes of 'Daydream Nation' or 'Evol' for that – but for anyone else who is only aware of the band’s major label output this might put the quartet into a wider perspective.

Track Listing:-
1 Fire Engine Dream
2 Fauxhemians
3 Razor Blade
4 Blink
5 Campfire
6 Loop Cat
7 Kim's Chords (Non-LP version)
8 Beautiful Plateau (Non-LP version)
9 3 Part Sectional Love Seat
10 Queen Anne Chair
11 The Diamond Sea (Album Version / Alternate Ending)

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