What a strange and beautiful album! I am not an SY fan, I actually bought this on a whim because I dug the cover art by William S. Burroughs (who died shortly before this album came out). SY has always been an elusive band that has received critical acclaim from critics (Rolling Stone) and musicians (Nirvana, Pavement) alike, but has avoided excessive radio play (at least in SoCal) and MTV. How surprised I was to find they'd been around 20 years when this album was released!
The criticisms of this album is that it is too artsy and pretentious. Well, this is NOT a pop album and look elsewhere if you're expecting something like Blink or Britney (or even Foo Fighters) I enjoyed the music here because it strives to be different from Top 40 or even so-called alternative radio.
As the title reveals, this album pays homage to the musical and artistic legends that have originated in or been influenced by NYC and its culture. In addition to Burroughs, there are lyrical and stylistic references to Jack Kerouac, Lenny Bruce, D.A. Levy, Sun Ra, the NY Art Quartet, the Velvet Underground, and possibly others.
There has also been discussion about 9/11 references. The music was recorded over a year before that tragic event but it is frightening how the noises produced on the apocalyptic title track sound like a jet plane moving closer and closer to the listener...
In fact, the reviews for Murray St. say one of the plane engines crashed into the group's recording studio that fateful day.