Reviewed by RUSSELL BAILLIE

(Herald rating: * * * *)

Sonic Youth did their September 11 album on their 2002 last one, Murray Street.

That was also the first album with new fifth member guitarist and mixing guy Jim O'Rourke. But here, it's looks like having a new pair of ears and set of hands has made the avant-rock veterans relax, find the tunes and some revitalised dynamic range among the trademark feedback, the drones and the dissonance.

That makes for a dreamy, engaging 10 tracks, three of which stretch past seven minutes but don't overstay their welcome with many an energy surge - like when the guitar sparks at five minutes on mid-album number Stones.

Lyrically, it's the Kim Gordon-sung deadpan numbers that leave their mark most, but Thurston Moore's pondering of past blues greats on New Hampshire is a curious cross-cultural gem. It's probably not the greatest Sonic Youth album of their 19 long-players and 20-plus years but it sure makes them sound like they're still excited by how they can sound, all over again.


Label: Geffen