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Thurston Moore finds a comfort zone with his strong new quartet on Rock n Roll Consciousness

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Over time it’s become clear that Thurston Moore thrives on collaboration, and with the dissolution of Sonic Youth he’s managed to regain his footing as a bandleader with this lean quartet. While he’s been involved with countless side projects over his long career, it’s only now that he has a working band in which the members seem comfortable in their roles. The group’s recent second album, Rock n Roll Consciousness (Harvest/Caroline), reflects a deep ensemble dynamic, guitarist James Sedwards employing a twined attack that conjures the more outwardly psychedelic excursions he took with Lee Ranaldo—in fact, many of the extended solos on the new record reflect Ranaldo’s aesthetic more than Moore’s own predilection for noisy chaos. Steve Shelley, who’s worked with the singer for more than three decades, is back on drums, just as My Bloody Valentine’s Deb Googe, who played on the group’s debut, returns on bass. Lyrics on three of the album’s five tunes were written with British poet Radio Radieux, who also contributed words to the previous release and represents another growing partnership for Moore. It’s a strong record filled with the sort of honey-drugged melodies Moore has long favored—powered by the precise engine of Shelley and Googe—and the multipartite jams glide effortlessly, ebbing and flowing between serenity and intensity with impressive grace. Still, I do miss the tension that existed in Sonic Youth; his new collaborators are skilled, but they tend to support him when they might be better off challenging him now and again.   v

Smoke Of Dreams (Official Video) by Thurston Moore on VEVO.

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