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Published: 2013/05/25
by Bill Murphy

Chelsea Light Moving
Chelsea Light Moving


It’s consistently amazing how many oddball moods Thurston Moore can wrench from an electric guitar. His latest “rawk” unit Chelsea Light Moving bears only a passing resemblance to Sonic Youth—songs like “Sleeping Where I Fall” and “Empires Of Time,” in all their raggedy splendor, revive a glam-rock snarl circa early ‘72—but then, restless movement and unpredictability are the M.O. here. With guitarist Keith Wood, bassist Samara Lubelski and drummer John Moloney onboard, CLM is a noisy juggernaut that somehow captures all the grit, grime and wild experimentation of a bygone era, without ever sounding jaded, derivative or formulaic. As if to hammer the point home, Moore throws himself into the brutally sardonic junkie romp “Burroughs” (“Hey Billy, what’s your cure for pain?”) and sounds like a kid again on “Communist Eyes,” a Germs cover that comes perilously close to raising the ghost of Darby Crash (who’s name-checked in the spoken-word dirge “Mohawk”). Is Moore smirking his way through it all, like a guy who knows how absurd it is to make a balls-out art-punk record at age 54? Absolutely, and that’s why it works from top to bottom.

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