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
Two and a half stars