Lee Ranaldo – Electric Trim
Mute Records (2017)
By Ben Allen
Free from the restraints of seminal punk noise legends Sonic Youth, Lee Ranaldo has fully realized his musical ambitions on his latest record. If Sonic Youth were the Beatles, Ranaldo would be George Harrison, and Electric Trim would be his All Things Must Pass.
Album opener “Moroccan Mountains” embraces Ranaldo’s love for all things 1960’s and psychedelic. The track sounds much like something off of The Doors’ L.A. Woman, slow and mysterious with Lee’s spoken word vocals followed by Morrison-yelps. Later, it picks up momentum into a frantic pace, mirroring the sounds of The Velvet Underground’s “Heroin.” The duet with Sharon Van Etten “Last Looks” is one of the more pleasingly straightforward compositions in Ranaldo’s catalog, and quite possibly the prettiest piece of music he’s ever committed to tape.
While at times, there’s a certain level of inconsistency and randomness to the songs, they somehow manage to coalesce into a triumphant statement. The arrangements feel intentional, but somehow simultaneously disjointed.
Ranaldo was only ever allowed a song or two per Sonic Youth album and Electric Trim spectacularly highlight his ability to spread his wings and embark on a glorious voyage into the sun. Stay tuned. – (8/10)
This review also appeared in Northern California publication Savage Henry.