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Sonic Youth “Sacred Trickster”

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Where much of The Eternal is a continuation of Sonic Youth’s career-long balancing act, featuring the staggered vocals of Thurston Moore and Kim Gordon, “Sacred Trickster” gives Gordon sole ownership of the spotlight. In doing so, the song arouses a sense of yesteryear, a sound that is reminiscent of the gritty, driving tracks that Gordon lead throughout the ’80s, all without sounding retro. With 2006’s Rather Ripped, the band largely avoided the grungy droning jams that had taken over much of its previous albums, replacing the bulk of the songs with a whirlwind of crushing guitar. To some degree The Eternal follows that trend, with the exception of the album’s final track, “Massage The History,” which bows out slightly before the 10 minute mark.

When the band focuses on shorter, faster tracks it seems able to thrust itself entirely into the music. “I want you to levitate me/Don’t you love me yet?/Press up against the amp/Turn up the treble, don’t forget.” In any different context, perhaps sung by either Moore or Lee Ranaldo, the same lyrics would shed the meaning they embody when flowing through Gordon. And when combining the rapid pace of the song with her forceful snarl, the final product isn’t something that sounds like the band did 20 years ago, but rather it sounds the way that one might have hoped they would have sounded a few decades after releasing Daydream Nation. Like “Sacred Trickster,” The Eternal sounds refreshing from start to end, and with each release it becomes increasingly amazing to find Moore, Gordon & co. outmatching contemporaries half their age.