Sonic Youth, 'Sister', 1987Lost Blue Heaven
Sonic Youth - 'Sister' Blast First (BFFP 20, 1987)
For those keen on tracing the punk culture underbelly of the Reagan-era, Sister is vital listening. While Goo has come to be the defining Sonic Youth album, it veils the uneasy listening and corrosive qualities of the band’s earlier outings which firmly placed them in New York’s annals of avant-garde. Serving as the explosive apotheosis of Sonic Youth’s first four albums before the group shifted into a more palatable style that would allow them to break into the mainstream, Sister explores noise and unorthodox tunings with purpose.
Despite the album’s radically experimental veneer that was characteristic of the short-lived no wave movement of New York that birthed the group, Sister is significantly more structured and sequenced than previous releases. Where Moore and Ranaldo’s frantic feedback and atonal guitar had once dominated sonic space with non-linear ideas, Shelley and Gordon’s rhythms now provided more discernible pop song structures for the co-guitarists to work within.
Sister is an uncompromising glimpse into the underground of 1980s New York, a landmark in Sonic Youth’s discography, and a record that is always on heavy rotation here at LBH.
Graded using the Goldmine Standard. Graded conservatively, cover and media VG+/VG.