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June 17, 2024

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Sonic Youth
Nurse (Geffen Records)

By: Yong-Woong Shin

Sonic Youth's long illustrious career as New York art rockers continues to shine. On their 19th LP, "Sonic Nurse," the group takes their patients on an unexpected visit to the hospital that plays like a sweaty dream from a 70s B horror film. It's accented by screeches, mumbles and nearly cracking voices, leaving listeners anesthetized at times and wide-eyed with fright at others. The group continues its perfected jamming, weaving in and out of determined strumming, cleanly picked notes that hang for but a count, and disheveled, unpredictable vocals perfectly driven by unadorned drum parts. On "Dripping Dream," Thurston Moore sings a breezy melody then orates flatly, barely wanting to convince us of some impending doom. In the strangely titled "Kim Gordon and the Arthur Doyle Hand Cream," bassist and vocalist Gordon desperately insists, "It's time to take a bubble bath." But we're reluctant to bathe for fear someone might throw a plugged hair dryer into the water along with the bubbles. This underwater theme is continued on "Stones," which features a moody, dank rhythm gurgling with eddies of muted guitar riffs. Sonic Youth's Sonic Nurse enters the hospital room to drug us with morphine and administer her painful remedy. As her patients, we are most comfortable when she is absent. But we also feel confident we will fully recover by the end of this aural convalescence.
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