The sad part is, not only is this album exactly like a Sonic Youth album, but I can even name, per the specific swatches of pathetic rock retrospection Thurston Moore is limp-wristedly employing here, the exact Sonic Youth songs he’s ripping off. There’s the cheesy emotional build of “Rain on Tin,” there’s the minor-chord faux-poignance of “Pink Steam,” and then of course “Washing Machine” (but then most things Sonic Youth or not are derivative in some way of “Washing Machine”). Oh yeah, and who could forget about the bookends — a Dustin Wong apparently lacking the technical skill, despite his 30 years of making music, requisite for doing basic looping, a tired, impossibly played out slow approximation of the post-rock of Tortoise and Slint. And then we get a stupid little solo on a distortion pedal. Yawn. As if these recycled aspects aren’t a bad enough hammer into your heart of optimism, the long-windedness of this project makes the Grateful Dead sound rushed. The difference is, the Dead at least generated a new SOUND on In the Dark, in their old-fogey days… the only thing new about Rock N Roll Consciousness is that it makes me wish I was “unconscious” in a very rock and roll sort of way, like maybe on a meth overdose or something.
The singing comes in on “Exalted” for… some odd reason, disjointed little quips not quite virile enough to qualify as surrealistic or beat poetry, not quite emotionally invested enough to qualify as a humanistic statement on another person in real life. And to think, this is the same indie rock figure who once brought us the unforgettable found art epic that is “Providence.”
Let me get one thing clear here: I am a Sonic Youth FAN, and I still will be a Sonic Youth fan after listening to this album for the first and last time. I think back to one unforgettable epic car ride I had three years ago where I played The Very Best of Badfinger, R.E.M. – Out of Time and Sonic Youth – Rather Ripped, and then I think some Loudermilk and a bunch of rap… and all the music I played just seemed so incredibly invincible, even the slow, eerie album closeur “Or” standing out as a riveting, transcendent musical moment.
Maybe the well runs out, and this band sure seem he** bent on never making anything but the most basic (which at one time of course wasn’t basic) indie noise-rock… nay, cooperative classic rock. This is music for people with fu**in’ prostate cancer, for God’s sake. “Turn on” starts in like some soft “Turquoise Boy” sequel, all sh** we’ve heard before 10 years ago, as if life was nothing but fishing out in the sun in a man-made lake. Yeah, you really might as well fish in a jacuzzi, if you’re gonna listen to this flaccid dreck.