Thurston Moore Spirit Counsel The Daydream Library Series
Thurston Moore’s output since the curtain came down abruptly for Sonic Youth in 2011 has been unquestionably solid – and perhaps almost strangely so. He seemed to bristle at suggestions that The Best Day, the honest-to-god 2014 art rock LP that represents his solo peak to date, might have represented him playing it safe.
Perhaps that’s why he appears to be striving for the precise opposite with his latest epic effort. If you like Moore at his weirdest, you’re going to love Spirit Counsel, a three-part monolith. The first third, Alice Moki Jayne, pays tribute to three of the great female jazz players in a noise rock style that recalls Sonic Youth’s more adventurous SYR cuts, without ever really doing justice to the three giants it’s in thrall to.
Elsewhere, we get Galaxies, Moore’s take on the guitars-as-orchestra concept that Nick Zinner of Yeah Yeah Yeahs pioneered earlier this decade with his 41 Strings project. It’s handsome and stately, but the kind of sweeping drama that feels necessary is ultimately missing.
The best, it turns out, is saved for last. 8 Spring Street is a truly lovely paean to the great experimentalist Glenn Branca, and it feels like Moore is dropping the pretence for the first time; his love of the style is palpable. Ultimately, though, Spirit Counsel is his reaffirmation of faith in the pushing of boundaries, it hits more than it misses. But even if it didn’t, it feels like a breakthrough.