By Vish KhannaSonic Youth fans clamouring for more than a couple Lee Ranaldo songs per record will be ecstatic about Between the Times and the Tides, a stellar rock'n'roll debut from the gifted songwriter. Ranaldo has been prolific beyond Sonic Youth, but until now, his discography has primarily reflected his interests in noise, jazz and exploratory guitar experimentation. For his first burst of pop songwriting since his band started to seriously slow down (SY's most recent record is 2009's The Eternal, while leaders Kim Gordon and Thurston Moore separated this past fall), Ranaldo enlisted frequent collaborators (Jim O'Rourke, SY drummers Steve Shelley and Bob Bert) and old pros (Wilco's Nels Cline, Alan Licht, John Medeski and Irwin Menken) for a seamless progression into a world of his own. As a published poet with a keen ear for language, Ranaldo has a knack for conveying cool ideas without sounding detached. Songs like "Waiting on a Dream" and "Angles" are ripe with tense emotion, propulsive feeling and perfect soundtracks that pop the words from the page. Airy, vaguely psychedelic and meaningful, Beyond the Times is a gorgeous exhibition from a thoughtful, voracious artist relishing a whole new outlet.
Read an interview with Lee Ranaldo here. (Matador)