Thurston Moore - Rock n Roll Consciousness - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

Thurston Moore - Rock n Roll Consciousness

by James Weiskittel Rating:8 Release Date:2017-04-28

When Indie-Rock pioneers Sonic Youth disbanded some five years back, it would have been hard for any long time fan to find fault with the band wanting to wrap up a thirty-year career while at the top of their game.  In the wake that followed, however, the story of what led to the group’s decision became a murky mess of differing accounts via interviews and even a tell-all book. Regardless of your stance on the drama, the fact remains that it can’t be easy to have one’s relationship unravel in the court of public opinion. 

In the case of Sonic Youth frontman Thurston Moore, it was both his band as well as his marriage that would soon become fodder for headline-seeking publications.  Nevertheless, the man has kept busy, focusing on forging new musical partnerships and continuing to release his own music.  Rock n Roll Consciousness marks Moore’s third post-Sonic Youth solo album (fourth if you count Chelsea Light Moving) and finds the singer in fine form. 

While Rock n Roll Consciousness may appear a bit slight at first glance, the album’s five tracks do in fact represent nearly forty-five minutes of music.  The massive opening track “Exalted” shows off Moore’s criminally underappreciated guitar work and highlights the impressive use of noise and dynamics that he has spent his entire career defining and refining.  The sonic assault masquerading as a six-minute snare roll that is “Cusp” careens spectacularly into the the understated grandeur of the album’s centerpiece “Turn On”, a song that twists and turns in epic fashion.  Elsewhere, “Smoke Of Dreams” feels like a vintage slice of Moore’s ‘other’ band while the album-closing “Aphrodite” represents Moore’s strongest vocal of the album, a song that pays off big time.

While Moore’s post-Sonic Youth output has yet to stray too far from the sonic blueprint of his former band, there is a level of ambition achieved here that would seem to indicate an artist revitalized.  Rock n Roll Consciousness is the kind of album that should satisfy any longtime fan still pining for a ‘reunion’ as it easily stacks up against the best of Moore’s back catalog.

Setting aside all of the peripheral gossip and hearsay, the bottom line here is that Thurston Moore has been releasing some pretty potent music as of late.  Rock n Roll Consciousness is a fine collection of songs that in many ways feels like a piece of a much larger puzzle, the rest of which (if this album is any indication of what is to come) will be well worth the wait...a spectacular third act for one of Indie-Rock’s elder statesmen.

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