Taking its name from a short-lived moving company operated by composers Philip Glass and Steve Reich, Chelsea Light Moving, the newest project from guitarist and alt-rock icon Thurston Moore, is a group whose full-length debut is ready-made to shift furniture for listeners.
After cranking an unsuspecting stereo’s volume knob up as far as it can go, all one has to do is press play, and by the time the band cracks into the nearly eight-minute fuzz-jam “Alighted,” the sofa will likely get up and walk by itself. No promises on where the couch will ultimately end up though. You see, this is an album where not knowing where you’re headed is half the fun.
Recorded at Sonelab studios in Easthampton, Mass. by engineer Justin Pizzoferrato and featuring fellow group members Keith Wood (Hush Arbors) (guitar), Samara Lubelski (bass) and John Moloney (Sunburned Hand of Man) (drums), Chelsea Light Moving is a return to form for Moore, who’s last two solo releases (2007’s Trees Outside the Academy and 2011’s Demolished Thoughts) appeared to tread in mellower waters.
The focus here is on sounds loud and fast. “Lip” even features the 54-year-old Moore barking out the line “Too fucking bad” over and over again, as if he’d traded places with an erstwhile hardcore fan nearly 40 years his junior. Elsewhere, a cover of the Germs’ “Communist Eyes” continues this trend complete with lo-fi aesthetic. The rage inherent in the song still translates as does the obvious fun Moore seems to be having while cutting loose on a tune originally penned when he was cutting his teeth in the early days of Sonic Youth.
Watch Chelsea Light Moving perform a live version of the song “Lip” here:
Some of the best moments on Chelsea Light Moving are the ones where the entire ensemble is able to lose itself in the music. The earlier mentioned “Alighted” is just one such example of this camaraderie. “Empires of Time” is another. Building slowly at first with repeating guitar lines, the song eventually erupts with Moore shouting “We are the third eye of rock ‘n’ roll” over the din.
Listeners with short attention spans may be put off by many track’s running times, which often balloon to over five minutes in length. And Moore’s more literary influenced numbers “Burroughs” (named after the famous beat writer William Burroughs) and “Mohawk” (which amounts to one, long spoken-word recital) are some of the worst offenders in this area, each tune overstaying its welcome by several minutes.
The same can’t be said of the rest of the record though. In fact, Moore and company’s rave-up stylings should have many clamoring for another spin as soon as the first one is over. This is one moving company fans won’t mind tipping extra.
For more information on Chelsea Light Moving please visit http://chelsealightmoving.blogspot.com/ and http://www.matadorrecords.com/matablog/category/chelsea-light-moving/.
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