Thurston Moore: Demolished Thoughts

With Beck on the knobs, the Sonic Youth architect adds a new gem to his distinguished catalogue.  

Iann Robinsonby Iann Robinson



Thurston Moore

Demolished Thoughts

Matador Records


Thurston Moore has made a thirty-year career out of not being able to play the guitar. I don’t say that as a shot, but as a compliment. As a statement on how Moore takes the common, every day idea of guitar playing and turns it on its ear. Through out his work in Sonic Youth, on soundtracks and in his solo work, Moore has always come off to me as more of a composer than just a guitar player. He’s also a great reminder that punk lives in the heart, no matter what age you are. Now Moore has released Demolished Thoughts, another massive notch in a long and distinguished career.


If there’s anything I hate it’s somebody known for making loud rock music that decides its time for an acoustic album. It’s usually a pretentious and melancholy brush with mediocrity featuring cover art of said musician in a rustic barn that looks recently rained on wearing a funny wool hat and holding a guitar. None of that pretention exists on Demolished Thoughts. Instead Moore crafts one gorgeous song after the other and peppers them with his mellow vocals. I loved Moore’s voice on Sonic Youth’s cover of The Carpenters “Superstar”, and that’s the range he plays with here.


Even though Demolished Thoughts is an acoustic album, Moore’s busy fingers and love of layered songwriting is still apparent. Moore takes each individual element and places it where it can do the most good for the song. He also lets the music play as long as it needs to. Intros are extended, middle sections drawn out, lots of areas are devoid of vocals allowing the sounds and nuances to dance and interact with each other.  At times the textures and complexity of the music draw you in so completely that when vocals happen it’s startling. 


Produced by Beck, Demolished Thoughts brings about memories of Sea Change, one of Beck’s most accomplished records. Beck and Moore work off of each other’s strengths with great results. Beck is a master at creating mood and telling a story through music. You can feel his presence holding the busy mind of Moore together.  Several acoustic things will be happening at once, guitar, bass, violins or cellos, some of it atonal stuff that pecks at your eardrum, some of it slow moving and sweet. Whatever goes on it stays within the ideal of getting a point across via music. The point is yours, whatever you take from it, but the music never overpowers that, it never takes you out of the song simply to be impressive with how well Moore can play.


It’s impossible to break down the tracks for Demolished Thoughts other than to say that the album demands to be heard front to back. Thurston Moore has taken acoustic lessons learned from Neil Young, combined them with the Sonic Youth ability layer and multiply the music itself and then allowed Beck to step in and give it an essence and a flow. Demolished Thoughts is a record that left me thirstin’ for more.


Oh come on, I had to.