(Photo Credit - Vera Marmelo)
Advance Review - Thurston Moore: By the Fire (September 25, 2020)
The legendary Thurston Moore is back. Years after changing the indie world forever through Sonic Youth, Moore continues to release inspiring solo music. With By the Fire, Moore recognizes that the world has gone to shit, but he's here to do something about it. The album's tracks put all the bad out there on notice that with some creativity and music, one artist can show we're in this thing together.
Ever present is the unconventional guitar work and signature vocals of Moore that fans have come to know and love over the years. But on By the Fire Moore's voice feels emboldened, perhaps because of the crazy times we're living in. There's a moment in "Siren", a little over 8 minutes in that is musically the equivalent of a beautiful sunrise and damn am I here for it. It emerges and stands boldly with a fantastic melody accompanied by Moore's vocals and unmatched lyrics. It might be the best thing I've heard on a record this entire year.
A couple of other notes worth highlighting on the album is that Moore's guitar work is really unlike anything else on the indie scene today. Often imitated, but never perfected Moore is still king at infusing art rock and indie together into his own thing. This balance between art rock and indie is present throughout By the Fire as Moore loves to mix less traditional instrumentals with low-key indie melodies. At times they're juxtaposed onto one track as they were with "Siren". There are other points where Moore stretches himself creatively with his more abstract instrumentalism such as on "Locomotive". But he never stretches it too far and usually brings it back to a more grounded place in his more signature indie roots.
Moore is a master of manipulating genre to it's breaking point, but he always lands his move. That's part of what makes listening to Moore so great. It's also another reason why By the Fire is a winner for the legendary singer/songwriter. It's great that in such dark times, we're able to be given such great art to bring us together. By the Fire is can't miss stuff.
Favorite Tracks - "Hashish", "Siren", "Locomotives", and "Dreamers Work",
Rating - 4.5/5