Sonic Youth The Destroyed Room: B-sides and Rarities

Cleaning out their closet to fulfil the impressive 16-year stand they’ve had with Geffen Records, The Destroyed Room isn’t exactly the high note most would crave from Sonic Youth. But we’ll take it. Following up this year’s highly revered, riff rockin’ Rather Ripped, this compilation of outtakes, b-sides and rarities is the most experimental exercise they attempted on a major, with the exception of 2000’s unwavering and unlovable NYC Ghosts & Flowers. "Fire Engine Dream” doesn’t start things off desirably, treading water with unbending discordant guitar trills for ten minutes. Experimental Jetset outtake "Razor Blade,” on the other hand, is a surprising, bluesy quickie with Kim waxing poetic over some rather conventional acoustic and slide guitar. Their Groovebox audition (part of a Grand Royal comp also featuring Pavement and Beck) is throwaway SY at its best, as is the original version of "The Diamond Sea,” unless you need to hear the fabulous Washing Machine tune stretched out into its original 25-minute version. There are some highlights, don’t get me wrong. "Kim’s Chords” is an optimistic jam that finds them hitting all sorts of melodic strides and "Beautiful Plateau” is a rapturous noise monster that detonates and then rises into an intense sonic build up. The biggest problem with The Destroyed Room is that these are hardly the best of the bunch. With such a vast library of alternate takes and unreleased nuggets, you know they’re sitting on better tunes. But maybe all that means is that we’re in for a real treat when the all-encompassing box set drops one day. (Geffen)