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Lee Ranaldo – Between The Times And The Tides (Matador)

13 March 2012

After the dissolution of Sonic Youth, I, like many others, was saddened. On the bright side, I figured that would mean more excellent solo efforts from Thurston Moore. Well, with Demolished Thoughts, my hopes were stunted. And then, Lee Ranaldo drops Between The Times And The Tides on us. No offense, but Ranaldo was the last member of the band that I would expect to release the gem. Never on his own has he released anything so accessible and coherent. The first two tracks alone rival his best SY compositions. “Waiting On A Dream”, in particular is striking. It’s a slow builder that pays off wonderfully. While, for the most part, Between The Times is a relatively restrained affair, the effects pedals come out and shine on “Angles,”.

“Fire Island (Phases),” is a bunch of classic rock songs in one. It kicks off as a psychedelic romp then breaks down into wistful almost Southern rock, then ramps back up, then down again. Certainly, a pleasant surprise on a record full of them. “Lost,” is the finest example of the subtly nimble guitarwork Ranaldo is so adept at with a massive assist from Wilco‘s Nels Cline on all tracks. Things turn a tad more avant garde and spacy on “Shouts,”. Finishing up is “Tomorrow Never Comes,” and it sums up the record perfectly. Steve Shelley takes time from Disappears to lay down an excellent beat on all tracks for his SY mate, but here especially. Once again, I am floored by this record. The bottom line is that traditional pop song structures filtered through the artistic mind of Lee Ranaldo make for great results. With this record and Disappears’ Pre Language, it appears that the post-Sonic Youth world looks bright.