If you're like me, you shed a tear or two when you heard the news of Sonic Youth's hiatus/possible break-up as well as the divorce of Thurston Moore and Kim Gordon. Is doom looming on the horizon for the pioneers of art-punk/no wave/noise rock? That has yet to be determined, but, in the meantime, at least we have Chelsea Light Moving, Thurston's new band. While I feel that SPIN Magazine's choice to name Thurston Moore the Greatest Guitarist of All Time is a bit of a stretch, he is certainly in my list of top 5 guitarists. When you hear Thurston's name attached to a project--any project--you expect greateness, and greatness is often received. If you were lucky enough to snag a copy of Thurston Moore and Loren Connors's "The Only Way to Go Is Straight Through" Record Store Day exclusive, chances are you were blown away by their exceptional improvisation. Sadly, I feel like that expectation of greatness from Thurston is CLM's ultimate downfall. Granted, I didn't know what to expect from this band because the music Thurston creates is so diverse, but I think my expectations were a bit too high. This album feels less like a new venture for Thurston's talents and more like a way to pay his divorce lawyer. If this album had come out in the mid to late '90s, it would've been an absolute dynamo. Unfortunately, this is 2013, and the music style sounds a tad bit dated. "Heavenmetal" and "Sleeping Where I Fall" sound like outtakes from the early days of Frank Black's post-Pixies solo records, lyrically, vocally, and instrumentally. With the opening lines of "Alighted," we get the Thurston Moore we know and love, but more along the lines of mid-'90s Sonic Youth. In fact, the rest of this album reminds me of SY circa 'Washing Machine' through 'The Eternal', that slower-paced, less angst/anger-driven "Tuff Gnarl" for which the band became so well-known. None of the playing on this record comes close to the sheer power of late '80s/early '90s SY records like 'Daydream Nation', 'Goo', or even 'Experimental Jet Set, Trash and No Star'. With that said, this is in no way a bad record whatsoever. I don't think Thurston Moore could make a "bad" record; it's not in his DNA. For me, this record is more of a let-down. I picked it up expecting something new and fresh from Thurston, and instead I feel like he's simply taking his signature SY sound and finding new musicians with whom to explore that territory. It also makes me realize how having another virtuoso on guitar alongside Thurston--Lee Ranaldo, for example--makes Thurston sound that much better. Perhaps the other musicians of CLM simply haven't challenged Thurston's talents enough to make him truly shine. All in all, I expected more from this album than I got, which is most likely more my fault than the fault of Chelsea Light Moving. It's enjoyable to listen to, but it doesn't move me the way Thurston and Co. do/did on prior records. 'Daydream Nation' is one of my all-time favorite records, and I could listen to it every day without ever getting tired of it. And perhaps that's my ultimate dilemma: I keep wanting Thurston to make another 'Daydream Nation', and, chances are, he never will.
No, I would not recommend this to a friend