As a teenager back in the past century, Sonic Youth was a reference to a sound that came before to that wave of “punk” pushed by record labels and magazines around nirvana, Pearl Jam and such, whom to to an extent, they helped defined the “alternative” sound that would become the thing in the early 90’s. apologetic, noisy, angsty and extravagant. I think that most of that attitude and approach comes from Sonic Youth, their influence is obvious in many releases from later bands and their permanence in the zeitgeist is almost ubiquitous, vaguely resembling outfits with a similar creative frame, but strongly claiming what is theirs.
This record is probably my favorite by them, but I’m not gonna let that get in the way.
The guitar work, the pacing and build-ups, can still be heard over and over in multiple of post hardcore and indy rock releases all around the world, their use of noise and tuning/down-tuning as part of the chord progression superbly paired with the subtle but full drumming and the vocals never get in the way or become obnoxious. the timing in which the songs go into outburst of energy or contained anxious expectation. this are not unique, but this record in particular feels more balanced, a great milestone of underground fidelity paired with experience and trajectory. the result is full of confidence and delivers, aimed at getting newer listeners, but without compromising the rougher side of the music.
SST Records SST 134, 1987, US.