Sonic Nurse

By Sonic Youth's own ear-shredding standards, Sonic Nurse is mellow gold. The guitar feedback that has defined these noise-worshipping New York bohemians for more than twenty years hasn't vanished, yet this is Sonic Youth's most accessible album since 1992's Dirty. The skewed, groovy guitar riffing on Nurse cops the prettiness and chops of classic Seventies rock, with multi-instrumentalist/producer Jim O'Rourke shaping the sprawl into smooth patterns of light and shade. As usual, bassist Kim Gordon delivers the best lyrics: On "Mariah Carey and the Arthur Doyle Hand Cream," she observes of the wacky diva, "You are seemingly unconscious of what your body's doing." Sonic Youth, on the other hand, have never shown more self-control.

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