Here’s a confession: while I appreciate Sonic Youth, I’ve never quite understood the reverence people have for them. To me, they were always a consistently interesting band who seemed to latch on to whatever was more interesting in the music scene around them. Now that the band is apparently ending with Kim Gordon and Thurston Moore’s divorce, the inevitably onslaught of SY solo material shall begin, and next up in the queue (because most of us are keeping our fingers crossed for the Bob Bert/Mark Ibold collaboration) is guitarist Lee Ranaldo’s Between the Times and the Tides.
Lee Ranaldo has always felt like the guy caught between the bullshit artiness and importance of Thurston Moore and Kim Gordon, but this album is awesome. It’s full of beautifully played, almost surf rock-feeling guitars and clear and concise pop songwriting. As someone who knows next-to-nothing about Sonic Youth’s inner workings, such as who writes what, I feel like it’s a shame that the band never tapped more into what Ranaldo is doing here. It is wonderfully clear and fun rock songwriting. Everything feels like the Raspberries playing the Phil Spector songbook.
Lee Ranaldo isn’t the best singer in the world, but the stuff he does on Between the Times and the Tides does well to hide the limitations of his voice. Nothing on it is cringe-inducing, but don’t expect Big Rock Vocals from the guy.
Between the Times and the Tides is one of the more surprisingly good albums that I’ve heard this year. People should go out and buy this one, especially because if this outsells Thurston Moore’s inevitable, shitty record, maybe it’ll hurt his feelings.
— By Jason Bugg of The Bugg Blog, a freelance writer who has a wife, a bad rental home, two dogs, four cats, no kids, clinical depression and terribly strong thighs for a white man.