Sonic Youth

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 14 January, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 14 January, 2007, 12:00am

Sonic Youth

The Destroyed Room: B-sides and Rarities


B-sides and rarities are usually something to be approached with extreme caution at the best of times.

If the songs were any good, the reasoning goes, they'd already be widely released.

Alternatively, fulfilling a record contract in a bid to escape is usually the other reason for putting out such a collection. Although there are rumours about the latter with Sonic Youth, there's no telling why the New York noisemeisters decided to put out The Destroyed Room.

If it's a bid to cash in on their new-found popularity thanks to the poppy Rather Ripped, debatably one of last year's best releases, those fair-weather fans will be screaming for the exits on the first tune.

Even long-term fans of the group's riveting B-sides such as Halloween are likely to wish most of these 11 songs remained rare. Fire Engine Dream and Faxhemians, for example, are lengthy, meandering guitar jams that come across like the soundtrack to a screaming nightmare at 3am.

Much later, three other instrumentals, including the rather pretty Beautiful Plateau, could have showed potential with lyrics.

But really, that's quite a few instrumentals to sit through, especially by this often experimental quintet. When they do attempt vocals, as on Kim Gordon's breathy country strum Razor Blade, it's literally only for a minute.

The album's one true pleasure is the concluding track, Diamond Sea - all 26 minutes of it. Here, the group expand on their epic by adding billowing, thrilling, ear-shattering waves of guitar feedback.

Hardcore fans will be in heaven. Everyone else will have long since destroyed this disc.