According to Amazon.com, the two albums most frequently purchased with Sonic Youth’s latest are the upcoming release from AM-rock revisionists Wilco and Elvis Costello’s newest Americana corpse-humping. Take that as less an indication of what The Eternal actually sounds like than a helpful reminder of just how ridiculously old (Thurston Moore turns 51 July 25!) the band’s getting. Aside from a little mid-life metaphysical pondering, Youth fans will find nothing much new in Eternal, but those who’ve somehow slept on SY’s past 28 years of releases could pick a much worse starting point. Opener “Anti-Orgasm” melds Bad Moon Rising’s abrasive chants and guitar squall into the resonating alien chords explored on Moore’s latest solo album. “Antenna” damn near reverses the trick without raising its indoor voice. Lee Ranaldo screams agnosticisms into the void on “What We Know,” then swipes a guitar solo from the god of sweet-ass noisy shit. Most of the album’s other tracks wouldn’t be out of place on nearly any release between Daydream Nation and Sonic Nurse, and how can that be much of a criticism? After nearly three decades and 16 studio albums, The Eternal sounds about right.
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