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Pop album review: 'Chelsea Light Moving'

The self-titled debut from Thurston Moore's new band is a mixture of pointedly dissonant work and goofy fun.

March 04, 2013|By August Brown
  • The self-titled album by Chelsea Light Moving.
The self-titled album by Chelsea Light Moving. (Matador Records )

Thurston Moore's new band Chelsea Light Moving is named after the avant-garde composer Philip Glass' pre-fame moving company, and that's a pretty good metaphor for the band's sound: high-minded musicians doing some dumb, brawny lifting.

The band's self-titled debut comes after a gentler acoustic solo album and what appears to be a long hiatus for Sonic Youth (Moore is separating from his wife and band co-founder Kim Gordon). So it makes sense that his next move is this low-stakes, punky project whose album sounds like it was written in an afternoon — in both good and bad ways.

The music on Chelsea Light Moving is, at times, some of the most pointedly dissonant stuff Moore's written — see the Siouxsie and the Banshees guitar squeals of "Burroughs," or the sludge-metal of "Frank O'Hara Hit." Other tracks are goofy fun, such as the baritone spoken-word monologue on "Mohawk" or the deconstructed hard-core spittle of "Lip." None of it adds much to Moore's legacy as a guitar innovator and post-punk aesthete, but you leave the record feeling as sweaty and beat as you would hauling a couch up to a sixth-floor walk-up.

Chelsea Light Moving

Self-titled

Matador

Two and a half stars

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