Man does not live by feedback alone, even Thurston Moore of Sonic Youth. The striking thing about the guitarist's first solo album since 1995's Psychic Hearts
-- solo, as in, devoted to songs instead of prolonged amp death -- is not that he has shed the shredding for acoustic om folk. It is the melodic fiber in his writing and drone-tenor singing. Where there is voltage, it is evocative, not assaulting (the high wail of guitar and violin that opens “Frozen Gtr,” the raindrops of treble in “The Shape Is in a Trance”). Where there is none, as in the unplugged war of guitars that starts “Honest James,” Moore's duet with singer Christina Carter, his picking and their vocal blend is warm and full. There is high-speed dirt (“Wonderful Witches”) and driving psychedelia (the title instrumental), but the most avant-garde quality of this record is its gentle assertion of detail -- the way you can hear each leaf blowing on every tree.
(Posted: Sep 5, 2007)