This album, like all of the Youth's recent output, brings up a question: has the rest of the rockworld, or at least sections of it, caught up with what they've been doing over the last 20 years, or was/is Sonic Youth some sort of genetic cul-de-sac which no amount of conscious effort could possibly replicate? To which the obvious answer is "I dunno". They were some of, if not the first, to combine Cage/Branca/No Wave feedback assault aesthetics w/Beach Boys mutant harmony bubblegum, and at the time that was a breath of new air that most people's lungs were completely unequipped to handle. Nowadays, of course, noise has become the condiment of choice for aggro whiteboys who think they have a bone to pick w/society. Thing is tho, Sonic Youth could still wipe the floor w/these kids w/just one quick blurt of their patented free jazz/rockroll melange.
Take "Renegade Princess", for example. The track starts off with the immediately recognizable atonal shred these fellas (and a gal!) perfected long ago before Steve Shelley chimes in with a rusty drum thud and drags the song firmly into the groove that has always lurked under all of El Youth's output. "Small Flowers Crack Concrete" is a tone poem that sounds like Kerouac, assuming Kerouac had been a junkie instead of a drunk, fronting an Iannis Xenakis cover band. Best of all, "Never Mind (What Was It Anyway?)" goes so far as to apologize for all the various alterna-types who, back in the day, claimed the Youth as spiritual forefathers, simultaneously combining more riff w/more skrrng than any of those poseurs did over the course of four or five entire albums.
Anyway, the point is, buy this. Even if Sonic Youth's sound has been co-opted corrupted and bastardized by various wannabe arty types to the point of sometime near indistinguishability, they still know how to do it right. Besides which, having been the victims of commercial neglect since 1981, they most definitely deserve yer money.