Because A Thousand Leaves shows signs of a 'new' SY starting to emerge, what about its follow up? Another album of theirs that I rarely listen to these days. So, again, here goes.
1. Free City Rhymes. A quiet opener with some really nice vox from Thurston. Great subtle twin guitar action. One of my fave SY songs, even though it's one of their more understated ones. Lisyening closely, there's a sense of really early stuff like Halloween and Shaking Hell in some of the guitars. A great opener.
2. Renegade Princess. Laid back opening soon cranks up to a nice chugging rocker with some pretty cliched lyrics. Great drumming from Steve and a real nice guitar sound running through it that sort of remind me a bit of what Thurston had done earlier as part of Dim Stars. The ambient/noise breakdown at the end is OK if a bit unnecessary. It's almost as though they feel like they have to do it these days.
3. Nevermind. Typical nursey rhyme feel to this one from KG. Not nearly as annoying though as some of her other playground-pop excursions. And this does have that great riff that comes in for the chorus, of course.
4. Small Flowers Crack Concrete. Thurston is no poet, but this is OK. Nice guitars that sort of rumble along underneath until they slowly build and eventually take over.
5. Side2side. This starts out brilliantly. A kind of KG mantra spoken over simple Krautrock-like guitar and percussion that all build slowly to a sudden stop. An excellent track that I'd largely forgotten about.
6. Steamxsonik Subway. This is another one of their songs that I can't work out whether I like or not. Great music, annoying vox.
7. NYC Ghosts and Flowers. Beat poetry from Lee that is OK until he tries to put some melody in his voice. Again, musically there's a sense of an earlier, darker SY youth here, similar at times to something like Halloween. Would've been an incredible instrumental.
8. Lightnin. A nice semi-free-form closer that really reminds me of Satan is Boring.
A great album on the whole, with no real low spots. It doesn't have a 'Hits of Sunshine' or even a 'Karen Koltrane', but the downbeat, nocturnal feel that runs through it make this a far more consistent album than ATL.