Geffen - 2002 - 45 minutes

Longtime fans who are never sure whether they're going to hug or throttle Sonic Youth from release to release will find it worth hanging around on 'Murray Street'. The location of the 'Youth's studio and the second part of their New York trilogy, it follows the frustrating 'Ghosts & Flowers' and finds the quintet (now filled out by the third guitar of Jim O'Rourke) walking once again between catchy and obtuse.

The opening duo of 'The Empty Page' and 'Disconnection Notice' are two of the best songs they've done in years and, although no way as compelling, the rest also have their share of gentle and rocky moments. But be warned: if you're not a dedicated follower of feedback, you should skip the closing stages of some tracks. If you see them through until the end you'll wish that that they'd curtailed the explorations and started new ones because despite the 45-minute running time, the seven tracks give 'Murray Street' a mini album feel.

The greatest thing that this collection proves is that 16 albums into their career, Sonic Youth still have it in them to challenge you and remain impossible to second guess. 'Murray Street' isn't the great comeback that some have talked it up to be, but it should leave you wanting to put your arms around them.

Harry Guerin

Tracklisting: The Empty Page - Disconnection Notice - Rain on Tin - Karen Revisited - Radical Adults Lick Godhead Style - Plastic Sun - Sympathy for the Strawberry