During those summer nights, ponder Rather Ripped


From cult movie soundtracks — like “Suburbia,” “End of Days,” “1991: The Year Punk Broke” and the entire score to “Demonlover” — to an incredibly prolific amount of classic albums and side projects, veteran NYC rockers Sonic Youth have shown themselves a force to be reckoned with. No other group around today is as synonymous with the experimental “downtown NYC” music and art scene as they are.

Sonic Youth have always pushed the envelope. They were pioneers of the 1980s “No Wave” movement, playing at venues such as the once legendary CBGB’s, and then going on to tour the Soviet Union.

This June, Sonic Youth returns with a brand new studio recording, “Rather Ripped.” Some critics have heralded this album as a significant departure from the group’s trademark fuzzy rawness. While it is true that melody and rhythm are emphasized over distortion and noise, this is still very much a Sonic Youth record. Though the group is most well known for songs like “Youth Against Fascism,” with its abrasive, distorted guitar, they have done more melodic tracks as well, such as “Little Trouble Girl” on their 1995 CD “Washing Machine.”

Underneath the deceptively straightforward and appealing rock ’n’ roll lie layers of bubbling tension that threaten to burst out at the seams at any moment and are a bit too odd to be on the pop charts anytime soon. Masterful restraint is the idea this time and Sonic Youth excels at it. With standout tracks like “Incinerate,” “Reena” and the lovely “Do You Believe in Rapture?” “Rather Ripped” might just be the perfect score for those long and contemplative summer nights.