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Youth Assault

January 21, 1985|RICHARD CROMELIN

If a guy from New York asks if he can borrow your guitar, make sure he's not a member of Sonic Youth or it might come back looking like a pile of kindling.

This quartet, a prominent force in the new-music underground, approaches the instrument with a grain of assault, and on Friday at the Lingerie Thurston Moore and Lee Ranaldo spent most of their time hammering their guitar frets with hands and sticks and waving the guitars in front of their amps to enrich the din with some hearty feedback.

Sonic Youth's forays into the dark corners of psychedelia descend from the anarchic side of the Velvet Underground and recall Public Image in their unrelenting clamor. Bassist Kim Gordon's occasional vocals were fairly minimal in melody and tone, adding to the arty feel with their echoes of Patti Smith-style poetry-with-music. While Friday's set had its moments of glorious noise, it eventually struck an unhappy tedium and shifted from invigorating to wearying.

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