Lee Ranaldo solo albums generally sound like Telecasters being artfully fed into garbage disposals. With Sonic Youth‘s future uncertain, the guitar explorer offers a traditional rock LP – at least insofar as his main band now constitutes rock tradition. Past/present Youth-ers (Steve Shelley, Jim O’Rourke, Bob Bert) assist, as does Wilco‘s Nels Cline, another avant-gardist with a semi-pop day job. “Fire Island (phases)” echoes Neil Young, “Off The Wall” echoes R.E.M., and remarkably pretty electric guitar scrawls are everywhere. It’s great to hear the third voice in Sonic Youth stretching out. But it’s also a reminder of their irreplaceable magic.
Listen to Lee Ranaldo’s ‘Between The Times and The Tide’: