Sonic Youth Murray Street

Murray Street is a bit of a surprise. Most would assume that Sonic Youth would head further into leftfield dissonance with "jack of all trades" Jim O'Rourke's addition as a full-time member. Instead, the quintet has produced one of their most melodic and memorable records in recent memory. Kicking off with the sugary "The Empty Page," this seven-song affair is a mellower, more melodic jaunt than its predecessor, NYC Ghosts & Flowers, and it is a bit of a grower too. Subtle hooks creep out of the songs with each subsequent listen, and it really is a case of an album that sounds good the first time you hear it and increases upon further inspection. The standout track nod this time around has to go to the Lee Renaldo-sung "Karen Revisited," the only song on the album to pass the ten-minute mark. It's one of the artier songs on the album as well; full of enough guitar squelch and feedback to keep discerning drone freaks happy until the next Acid Mother's Temple album is released. Album closer "Sympathy For The Strawberry" is also a wondrous psychedelic excursion that contains some of the most stunningly delicate singing Kim Gordon has committed to tape in some time. (Geffen)