Sonic Youth

The Destroyed Room: B-Sides and Rarities (Geffen)

Sonic Youth

The Destroyed Room: B-Sides and Rarities (Geffen)

Phases and Stages
At the mellower end of Sonic Youth's 16-year Geffen era comes one last appetizing pang for destruction. The Destroyed Room, 11 songs hand-picked by the band, is a sonically interesting mess but proof that not everything they record should be released. "Campfire," from 2000's At Home With the Groovebox comp, should have been extinguished alongside the sleepy "Loop Cat." The rest jives: "Fire Engine Dream," an outtake from 2003's Sonic Nurse, is a marathon jam ("Let's see who's here and who's not," they taunt in the liner notes), clocking in at more than 10 minutes and forcing feedback to ride drummer Steve Shelley's galloping beat. Mostly instrumental, save for two songs Kim Gordon sings ("Razor Blade," a twangy B-side from 1994, and the ambient "Blink" from 1999's Pola X soundtrack), Destroyed allows SY the room to get typically weird. "Three-Part Sectional Love Seat" is dizzying, the slow interlock of guitarists Thurston Moore and Lee Ranaldo birthing an explosion of noise. Twenty-five-minute closer "The Diamond Sea," an LP version of the 1995 single, then achieves the maximum trashitude of the title, as well as embodying Sonic Youth's tried and true formula. The song builds, sparkles, and destroys.

***

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