Artist: Sonic Youth
Format: Digital (Spotify)
The knock on “Dirty” was that it was Sonic Youth’s attempt to latch onto grunge as it exploded in the early 1990s. Truth be told, the band’s seventh album feels like a logical step rather than an attempt to kowtow to trends.
Using their dual-guitar attack, Sonic Youth crafts a platter that earns its title, a fuzzy, chaotic blast of rock that begins with the lead single, “100%.” Sonic Youth doesn’t make hooks a priority in, well, anything, but “100%” does ride a nice groove and accompanies itself with screeching guitars.
Having Butch Vig, Garbage drummer and producer of Nirvana’s “Nevermind,” behind the boards probably went a long way to giving the perception that Sonic Youth was changing its style. But to hear “Sugar Kane” hang together by a thread is to see that the band hadn’t strayed too far from the organized chaos of “Daydream Nation.”
Vig’s hand is noticeable in that it is less noisy than its predecessors. With 15 tracks in less than an hour, Vig keeps Sonic Youth focused.
Mostly, Vig’s work on “Dirty” helps Sonic Youth strike a pleasant balance between the punkier tendency of Kim Gordon and the pop sensibility of Thurston Moore.
Our Music Year is Daily Republic popular culture writer Nick DeCicco’s yearlong online review in 2012 of albums he had previously not listened to. The reviews will appear in print on their corresponding days during 2013. Reach him at 427-6966 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/ndeciccodr.