Sonic Nurse review by Sonic Youth

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  • Released: Jun 8, 2004
  • Sound: 10
  • Lyrics: 8
  • Overall Impression: 10
  • Reviewer's score: 9.3 Superb
  • Users' score: 9 (12 votes)
Sonic Youth: Sonic Nurse

Sound — 10
As 'Nurse' fades out from the cosmic "Peace Attack", you can discern from what you've just heard that this was no trite protest drum, but dissenting panto, an art house matinee with a timely allusion to mankind's quandaries all sonically capsule-wrapped in something called charm. Infiltrating the world order without screaming (too loud). The songs, despite being mostly over five minutes long, are all to the point without feeling meandering. And even the shortest of them, "Unmade Bed" feels much longer than its four minutes. The balance between noise and melody is right, with each emerging and vanishing at just the right point.

Lyrics — 8
What is most immediately striking about Sonic Nurse is the return of Kim Gordon. On Murray Street, she blended into the background, the new guy having taken over most of her duties. When she did take the mic, it was on a Thurston Moore penned song ("Plastic Sun" incidentally the weakest song on the album). She had a relatively limited presence on NYC Ghosts & Flowers and Murray Street, but she's back in a big way on this album, contributing four tracks; not coincidentally, Gordon's songs are among the strongest on the album. "Pattern Recognition" gets Sonic Nurse off to a strong start and ranks among her best rock songs, falling somewhere between "Kool Thing" and "Bull in the Heather" in its icy-hot appeal. Experimental Jet-Set, and No Star's song fragmentation naturally echoed the melodic motifs expanded upon on Washing Machine, just as NYC Ghosts & Flowers premeditated the arrival of Jim O'Rourke's producer/full-time band member status on their last release, Murray Street.

Overall Impression — 10
All told, this album is probably the band's best balance of pop melodies and avant - leaning structures since Washing Machine. Whatever the realm of their inspiration, they are still indelibly Sonic Youth, and deserving of the significance that comes with it. It seems disingenuous to criticize Sonic Youth simply because their most innovative days are behind them. Granted, their current line-up has a tendency to overplay their most annoying traits. Considering the current aridity of the musical climate, this is something to be thankful for.

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    At Guitar Center here in Tacoma, they have Pattern Recognition on some sort of looped mix of songs playing on their loud speakers as background music. the whole album is great, it peaks at dude ranch nurse, awesome lp!