Every asshole music journalist with a healthy knowledge of clichés is always going to refer to Lee Ranaldo as the “George Harrison” of Sonic Youth. I had read this many times over the years and although I acknowledged it myself it wasn’t until the release of Lee’s amazing solo debut “Between The Times and the Tides” that I fully believed. Lee Ranaldo was the dark horse of Sonic Youth and he should have sung more of the songs in Sonic Youth.
Does Lee Ranaldo make George Harrison music? Fuck No, Lee is his own sound and on his debut we hear Lee take his sound to all corners of the rock n roll universe. I must admit I thought Lee would take a more acoustic turn but Lee has made a rock n roll record in the Neil Young tradition. It is full of fuzz and guitar freakouts but underneath that is the dust of folk music. When it rocks out it is at maximum guitar freak out and sounds similar to the refined buzz of Sonic Youth’s 2000 to 2009 releases. The moment on this album that I love most though is “Stranded” which is a gorgeous love ballad and I still maintain that is sound of love in the new decade. It is a song that I will always include on any mix I’ll be making in the coming years.
The news of Sonic Youth’s hiatus was heartbreaking but the solo material released so far from each member is strong enough to continue the Sonic Youth language over the next 20 years. Lee Ranaldo has made the best album thus far and combined with his stellar live show, I can’t wait to witness just where Lee will take his sound over the next few years.
Lee Ranaldo is his own man and on “Between The Times and Tides” he proves just what a powerful songwriter and artist he is.
10 Cassette Tapes out of 10