Sonic Youth

Destroyed Room: B-Sides & Rarities
(Geffen)

The SYR series of recordings were the right idea at the right time. Issued via Sonic Youth's imprint — beginning in 1997 and continuing, albeit sporadically, to the present day — the releases allowed the group to shrug out of verse-chorus-verse strictures self-imposed as (relatively) new Geffen signees. Lyrics were spare and, if present at all, tended to be impressionist; jams ran long, free-form, and resolutely anti-pop — particularly in the case of Silver Session for Jason Knuth. Destroyed Room's cobbled-from-odds-and-ends view is similarly spacious, if warmer. Grids of UV-ray guitar float, clash, then knot up on the playful if unexceptional "Queen Anne Chair." Sonic Nurse bonus track "Beautiful Plateau" doubles as a mannered study in dissonance, slipping from managed, noisy chaos to ringing, current-meets-tide glory and back with blink-and-you'll-miss-it speed. "Campfire," which appeared on the 2000 At Home With the Grooveboxcompilation, anticipates Excepter by at least a few years, even if Excepter might've left it on the cutting-room floor. While tacking on an extended version of "The Diamond Sea" — their circa-1995 Grateful Dead epic stab — at the end tamps the mood somewhat, Room's immersion value's high, even if its contents are ultimately little more than recycled melodic goods.

 
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