Lee Ranaldo: Between the Times and the Tides (Matador)

 |   |  1 min read

Lee Ranaldo: Xtina As I Knew Her
Lee Ranaldo: Between the Times and the Tides (Matador)

Anyone who doesn't hear a throbbing Flying Nun band turned up to 11 here -- Bats, Clean, some solo Chris Knox even -- just hasn't been paying attention.

There is a frisson of familiarity about the powerful chords and driving momentum of some of these songs (Lost, but Off the Wall especially where Ranaldo sounds like Michael Stipe fronting a Bats-Clean supergroup) but that takes nothing away from the sheer pleasure of hearing them, and of Ranaldo's obvious joy in playing a straight bat to indie-framed power-pop on memorable songs.

And he gets some pretty handy support from fellow Sonic Youth member Steve Shelley (drums), keyboard player John Medeski, onetime/sometime SYouth player Jim O'Rourke on bass, Nils Cline on guitar moonlighting from Wilco . . .

There's something of John Cale's veiled menace in places here too -- the gripping seven minute Xtina As I Knew her which soars and maybe even owes a debt to Tom Verlaine -- but the real appeal lies in the sonic and melodic directness here.

If SYouth's Thurston Moore unveiled his softer side on his recent Demolished Thoughts, Ranaldo -- with the exception of the acoustic Hammer Blows and the pastoral ballad Stranded -- sounds like he's not just keeping the faith with widescreen guitars (the incendiary opening work-out on Fire Island) but also the idea of a crisp, memorable and economic melody.  

This is a fine, often uncomplicated and deeply appealing collection which is bound to remind many Sonic Youth aficionados of just how much he has contributed to their extensive catalogue.

And if SYouth just seem too big a demand to explore because you arrived late, you could do a lot worse than start the journey here.

Like the sound of this? Then check out this.

Share It

Your Comments

post a comment

More from this section   Music articles index

Cher: Closer to The Truth (Warners)

Cher: Closer to The Truth (Warners)

The prices Cherilyn Sarkisian paid on her way to becoming the iconic figure she is today were recounted in stark and moving detail in J. Randy Taraborrelli's biography Cher of '89. At the end... > Read more

Various Artists: Riddim Box (Soul Jazz/Southbound)

Various Artists: Riddim Box (Soul Jazz/Southbound)

Perhaps just a heads-up for DJs and samplers on this one? Here be a double disc of UK underground and dancefloor tracks which should pull the punters to a spot under the mirrorball: chipping... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

The MC5: The Big Bang! The Best of the MC5 (2000 compilation)

The MC5: The Big Bang! The Best of the MC5 (2000 compilation)

Writing against the tenor of these times, let it be said that sometimes there's no particular advantage in being first. Take Detroit's MC5. Essentially they made snotty, loud, politicised... > Read more

THE FAMOUS ELSEWHERE QUESTIONNAIRE: Tim Finn

THE FAMOUS ELSEWHERE QUESTIONNAIRE: Tim Finn

Tim Finn's remarkable career (outlined here) now reaches to nine solo albums with the release of The View is Worth the Climb. Add in all the Split Enz years, the Crowded House/Finn albums and other... > Read more