Chelsea Light Moving
Chelsea Light Moving
**** out of *****
Like the death of MCA, the breakup of noiserock guru's Sonic Youth was not a topic we ever addressed here at RTBE because quite frankly we didn't want to deal with either issue. Granted one is much more final, but both are devastating events to our musical lives.
Here now we have Thurston Moore's first musical response to the separation, Chelsea Light Moving. Named after an actual moving company run by Phillip Glass and Steve Reich, this 4 piece is straight up guitars-bass-drums attacking the noiserock sound in a fairly direct manner. Recorded in only two sessions up in rural Massachusetts there is a raw energy even in their delicate numbers.
Who knows if these songs will grow and expand or this will be a short lived project, but when it ends this self-titled effort is incredibly satisfying. A lot of the tracks here are expansive (6 minutes plus) fluctuating between pretty and vein-slashing riffs. Most have their moments where aggression and sorrow seem to be at odds. Two that stand out are the early pair of "Sleep Where I Fall" and "Alighted" both are contorted rides that end up enjoyable, and not too far removed from where Moore was around The Eternal.
"Communist Eyes" and "Lip" burn more primal, letting off some steam as tracks like "Empires of Time" and "Groovy & Linda" veer towards the odder side of things, experimenting with sounds, tape recordings and tempos. An excitingly angular ode to a famous junkie finds "Burroughs" building and building over its 6+ minutes before its flooding release. "Mohawk" is the most experimental track here, ending with guitar warbles and spoken word poetry that closes while referencing Darby Crash and shower surprises.
Much will be made of Moore's lyrics and their link to his ex-marriage and current situation, it is inevitable with repeated phrases like: "Getting wasted", "Never being alone", "Sleeping Where I Fall" and especially "Get Fucking Mad/To Fucking Bad". Sure listeners can infer deeper personal meaning, however taking them simply in context works just as well with the punk, raw, DIY ethos feel of Chelsea Light Moving first release.
Moore has never sat still with countless side projects and hobbies, but with his main act defunct it will be interesting to see if Chelsea Light Moving becomes a new focus or just another blip in the excellent songwriter/guitar player/sound wranglers career. If the band sticks around this is an exhilarating foundation to build upon.
This whole thing took me by surprise and in a very very good way. Buy the album here, support the band here and peep a sample video below: