The Inner Workings of Thurston Moore
If you didn’t know any better, you might assume folk was Thurston Moore’s thing. You’d maybe even figure he had made a career of the expansive acoustic tracks that make up Demolished Thoughts, because the album’s songs seem to flow so effortlessly from brain to fingertips. But no—this is only the second folk offering from the avant-garde icon, the Sonic Youth frontman who helped give noise-rock its roots. The Beck-produced Demolished Thoughts is such an atmospheric and well-crafted work that he’ll have you thoroughly fooled.
While there’s nary an electric guitar in sight on the album’s nine tracks, Moore has found new ways to incorporate his signature style. These songs are far from traditional folk: they’re complex, full of intricate minor harmonies, and often fading into stretches of hypnotic instrumentals. Long after the lyrics of “Orchard Street” end, for example, the song swirls into a pulsing crescendo of harp, violin, and vintage synths. “Space” feels like its counterpart—Moore’s gentle voice (which rests somewhere between singing and speaking) comes in for only brief moments in the fluid six-and-a-half minute track.
For all that languid beauty, however, Demolished Thoughts runs the risk of sameness. It’s not one of those albums comprised of individual standout tracks, although single “Benediction” is easily one. It’s something in which to be enveloped, in which snippets of songs float over tightly woven ambient swells. It really does give the impression that these are Moore’s brainchildren, and he’s decided to share his inner workings with the world. If that’s the case, it’s no wonder Demolished Thoughts has such graceful ease.