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Between the Times and the Tides
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"Between The Times & The Tides" is basically an album made for someone like me. The Lee fan. It is an album of ten wonderfully written songs where Lee sings the lead. While the songwriting is complicated and dense, the album is also quite listenable. There are not too many weird tangents into dissonance, which is actually quite refreshing from a member of Sonic Youth. If you want that from Lee, you can go to Texts of Light, some of the SYR albums, or even some of his previous solo albums. This album is best summed up in a single word: pleasant. It came out today, and I have listened to it three times so far, and am ready for my fourth. Every song except one sunk in immediately. On subsequent listens, even the song that bothered sounded good (to the point that I cannot even remember which song was the troublesome track).
If you are a Sonic Youth fan, and especially a Lee fan, you will probably not be disappointed in this album. If you are a general music fan who stumbled across this review, I'd say that "Between The Times & The Tides" would probably be one of the safest gambles as an entry point into the complex Sonic Youth-related oeuvre.
Well, this is not that album, exactly; nor is it another in his long line of fascinating improv and noise releases like East Jesus, Clouds, or Scriptures Of The Golden Eternity. Outside of his unmistakeable tangles of guitar sound, this album doesn't really resemble an S.Y. offering, and he's tempered his prose and turned in a set of songs with earthier ambition that he composed on acoustic guitars. The lyrics are often even slightly frustrating in their straightforwardness, since we know Lee the published poet is capable of startlingly vivid imagery. But that is really one of the only minor subtractions that can be made against Between The Times And The Tides, an otherwise refreshing album that hits most of the buttons that draw people to Ranaldo in the first place.
Contrarily, from its opening notes BTTATT suggests otherwise, as the familiar chug of "Waiting On A Dream" has the same propulsive chime and ever-so-slight Eastern drone that later period SY album offerings like "Rats" had. Ranaldo's unadorned, unpolished voice rides the crest of the song over bubbling keyboard noises provided by John Medeski.Read more ›
There's definitely more variety here than with Lee's SY songs. "Waiting on a Dream" and "Xtina as I Knew Her" are exactly what SY fans would expect: sound and lyrics combining to give the music the spare, lost feel that most of Lee's compositions have. But that aesthetic doesn't define the album. The songs quickly move toward more typical melodic rock. "Hammer Blows" and "Stranded" sound folky. "Fire Island" is a medley of different rock styles. I'd put the album's sound somewhere between R.E.M., Neil Young, and Sonic Nurse. It's not bad, but it doesn't really stand out. There's not enough flair, not enough freshness. I can like most of the songs if I try to, but when I forget to try, they get a little dull.
I think Lee was right to diversify his sound in this album, and I'll definitely listen to whatever he does next. But this album is only decent, not outstanding, and decent albums are a dime a dozen. I might listen to this one a couple more times. I might put a couple songs on my iPod for a while. But that's it.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
If you are a fan of Sonic Youth, you know that Lee's songs always stand out. They have a very distinct mark and style to them... Read morePublished on November 9, 2013 by John B.
I knew Lee Ranaldo had an album out but for some reason I just wasn't motivated to get it. One day I'm hungry for new music, check out a song on youtube and decide to buy the... Read morePublished on October 2, 2013 by Stefan Schreffler
This has a big full sound to it. Kind of a classic rock sound (and I would say that the Byrds and R.E.M. are influences here, along with Television). It works very well. Read morePublished on April 9, 2013 by Scott McFarland
My friends turned me on to this record - and I will never turn back.
Dense, dark, enchanting & beautiful rock music.
Not exactly a mellow, but a relaxed album. The high volume psychedelic blast attack of Sonic Youth is exchanged here by personal songs from Lee, set to unbelievably gorgeous... Read morePublished on November 14, 2012 by Dunstan Skinner
perhaps Lee Renaldo's best solo recording, there is a lot going on here. not every track is a complete winner, but this is a pretty solid recording. Read morePublished on July 9, 2012 by Josh Fredman
It's ironic that shortly before this album was released I read the Sonic Youth band biography "Goodbye 20th Century". In that book you'll find out some interesting things about Mr. Read morePublished on June 9, 2012 by I'm A Loner Dottie, A Rebel
i recently rediscovered Sonic Youth by buying Moe Tucker's "I Feel So Far Away - An Anthology" which is an absolute must buy.. Read morePublished on June 6, 2012 by Erik Steevens