Sonic Youth - Confusion Is Sex LP


Label: Goofin'

Our Review:

Sonic Youth's 1984 album Confusion Is Sex is a vortex of bad juju and deliberately ugly atonality. The album stands both as a necessary defensive position upon confronting the bleakness of New York's ills at the time and as the emergent laboratory of avant-guitar experiments that would run through the Sonic Youth history. In shoving screwdrivers and drumsticks between the strings of guitars and bass, Sonic Youth crafted songs on Confusion Is Sex that were deliberately percussive and atonal, furthering and exaggerating the ideas that had come out those early Glenn Branca guitar-army symphonies (in which SY's Thurston Moore and Lee Ranaldo were early members). A rasping, acrid interplay of banged and bludgeoned instruments matches the barked monotone delivery from Moore and Kim Gordon, who empty themselves through the nihilist tone poems of "(She's In A) Bad Mood" and "Shaking Hell" only to crash through a manic cover of The Stooges "I Wanna Be A Dog" with an unhinged giddiness of self-immolation. Given how dissonant and percussive Sonic Youth were during their earliest incarnation, it's interesting that the band was rotating through drummers at such a rapid clip. Sonic Youth dropped Richard Edson after the eponymous debut, and for this recording they had No Wave stalwart Jim Sclavunos (of most all of Lydia Lunch's '70s bands) and Bob Bert alternating behind the drum kit. Perhaps this destabilization of the rhythm section played into Sonic Youth's cauldron of bracingly discordant revelry that made Confusion Is Sex so much a pivotal record in the history of the Lower East Side noise-rock bands. In all of the primitive punk demolition and uncontrolled pummel, Confusion Is Sex remains one of Sonic Youth's most confrontational recordings. Thurston has maintained that this is one of his favorite Sonic Youth records.