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Evol by Sonic Youth
Released: Jan 1986
Label: Squeaky Squawk
This is a great leap forward: where the performance art of the early Sonic Youth records comes into contact with tunes. It's also where they mastered sequencing: Thurston opens with the grand, haunting "Tom Violence," while Kim follows with an alluring, whisper-driven koan ("Shadow of a Doubt"). It's a one-two punch that will be used again. Still in thrall to the New York scum-art scene -- with references to car crashes and other forms of ultra-violence -- the band hasn't found its mature aesthetic. But not for nothing did guitar opus "Expressway to Yr Skull" earn Neil Young's undying respect.
Seth Colter Walls