Alternative Press - 5/94, p.73
"...You won't hear this blasting on the beach during spring break; it won't appeal to folks who like their culture served to them on a stick. It don't get much cooler than this...."
Sonic Youth: Thurston Moore, Lee Renaldo (vocals, guitar); Kim Gordon (vocals, bass); Steve Shelley (drums).
Recorded at Sear Sound, New York, New York.
Audio Mixer: Butch Vig.
Recording information: Sear Sound, New York, NY (1993).
Editor: Howie Weinberg.
Unknown Contributor Roles: Sonic Youth; Ed Raso; Devin Emke; Ollie Cotton; Fred Kevorkian; Walter E. Sear; Bill Emmons .
Have Sonic Youth inclined, ever so slightly, towards some sort of mainstream rock credibility? Not really. It's more likely that purveyors of popular song forms have finally made their peace with Sonic Youth, who've remained true to their vision long enough to see elements of their innovations popularized by grunge bands, modern classical minimalists and the like.
The music on EXPERIMENTAL JET SET, TRASH AND NO STAR shows that Sonic Youth is more than capable of having their cake and eating it, too. While the rock-solid drumming of Steve Shelly and the taut bass lines of Kim Gordon grounds their work in a palpable backbeat, the twin guitar thrash of Thurston Moore and Lee Ranaldo transcends pop cliches in a way that is still defiantly tense, moody and evocative.
Sonic Youth push the envelope of modern rock's avant garde, but as a collective ensemble in which individual egos are subsumed to the group sound. On "Bull In The Heather," Kim Gordon breathlessly renders images of need and desire in broken fragments of cliches and half-remembered promises, yet her vocals never eclipse the splintered shards of bell-tones and noise Moore and Ranaldo offer as a continual commentary. Not that there isn't some precedent in rock for such a balance: on "Starfield Road," with its go-go backbeat, odd tunings and ambient noise, Sonic Youth suggests the Eno-Manzanera experiments of early Roxy Music. Each song is like a separate world unto itself, making EXPERIMENTAL JET SET, TRASH AND NO STAR one of the most fiercely original albums to ever break the Billboard charts.