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Album Review
Between The Times And The Tides

Between The Times And The Tides
by Lee Ranaldo


Review Date
9th May 2012
Reviewed by
Alistar Wickens

Most serious music fans understand the huge impact and influence Sonic Youth had on rock music over the past 30 years, and the parts that each individual member of the band played in the band achieving that status.

While Lee Ronaldo contributed a lot to the band, he was somewhat in the background and overshadowed by Thurston Moore and Kim Gordon. That meant that his solo work perhaps didn’t get the notice it deserved at the time. Now that Sonic Youth has imploded, or exploded or whatever really happened to them, his solo work can be set aside from his work with Sonic Youth.

Between The Times And The Tides is Lee’s eighth solo album, but the first since the end of Sonic Youth, and it’s interesting to see how the breakup of his long-term band has influenced these songs. It’s a different beast from most of Sonic Youth’s music, but there’s definitely elements of that band in the music, and there’s a reflectiveness and sadness to it all that is perhaps Lee’s attempt to deal with the band breaking up.

Between The Times And The Tides supposedly started out as an acoustic album, and while it’s mostly Lee thrashing it out on an acoustic guitar, there’s a lot of friends he’s roped in making a whole lot of noise around him, including Sonic Youth’s drummer Steve Shelley. And it’s cool; it’s very, very cool.

There are moments where Lee’s contributions to Sonic Youth are apparent: the warm fuzzy guitar tones on opener Waiting On A Dream, the jangly refrain of Lost, the brooding drone at the start of Shouts and the melancholy and introspection of Stranded. But this album is definitely his; those moments are just that, snatches and glimpses of familiar sounds.

Fans of Lee’s work with Sonic Youth are going to be disappointed if they expect the same level of experimentation and intensity from Between The Times And The Tides, but if it’s approached without preconceptions it’s sure to win even the most ardent Sonic Youth fan over.

It’s always hard for an artist to distance themselves from their former collaborative work but Lee Ronaldo’s work stands on its own strengths and is an amazing, beautiful, reflective album.


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