Kim Gordon is the archetypal kool thing. Uncompromising, potent and essential. No Home Record, her debut solo album, is bloody brilliant. The nine tracks delve into the psyche of modern America, LA specifically, and reminds you that there is depth and beauty in the deconstruction of the superficial and ugly.

You may well have heard ‘Sketch Artist’ by now. The album’s lead track was released a couple of months ago to mixed reviews as it was not what people were expecting. How anyone has any idea what Gordon will produce at this stage says more about their lack of imagination than anything else. She is, and always has been, an artist on the edge of sensibility who will provoke as much as enthral. ‘Sketch Artist’ opens the album and although it was a patchy single, it is an outstanding album opener, mostly because it stands out like a sore thumb rather than serving as an appetiser for what is to come. A throbbing electro bass and skittish drums clatter away whilst she intones her usual breathy, almost stream-of-consciousness vocals over the top to glorious effect.

‘Sketch Artist’’s stark feeling, hollowed out humanity, seemed an ill-fitting advert for No Home Record as a whole, but in the context of the album it is raucous, subtle and enticing. Herein lies the magnificence of its use as a lead single as the album, takes a swipe at the surface level of commodification in a world increasingly leaning on soundbite knowledge, memes and 10 second video clips explaining complex positions and arguments. ‘Sketch Artist’ on one hand did a “bad job” of allowing audiences a glimpse at what the album may deliver sonically, but in the wider framework of the messages on No Home Record it absolutely hits the nail on the head with is misdirection. A hugely meta statement.

‘Air BnB’ springs into life with squalling, scratching and disorienting guitars which seem lost, directionless after the electronic sonic assault from its predecessor. The song seems to concern itself with identity and falsity – the nature of short-term ownership over someone else’s personal space offering a sense of freedom, as if the tenancy allows a ghost of an existence and the pretence of stability. Gordon is playing here with the commercialisation of the world, that all things are now only to be seen as assets to be sold, even down to such things as personal possessions and homes. Her lyrics are delivered in her usual broken spoken-sung style and detail all of the delights that await the occupation of an AirBnB property. It is in the achingly mundane that Gordon makes such a valid point – we have now reached the point where people access ‘freedom’ through consumption. She picks at the scabs that others don’t even notice.

It is pretty clear by the time that the third track turns up that there are tonal shifts all over this album. ‘Paprika Pony’ plays with avant-pop tropes of programmed drum patterns and slinky chimes, and Gordon comes across as something like FKA Twigs’ great aunt before a family intervention is agreed upon. Markedly, there are similarities between Twigs and Gordon which may have significance, as each seemingly plays by their own rules yet are often overshadowed by their relationships and links to men. Much easier to put a powerful woman in a restrictive and suffocating box if you constantly align her with a man, right?

Gordon is, without doubt, one of popular culture’s perennial antagonists, constantly poking, experimenting and probing on the periphery of the niche/mainstream cuff, exploring her own milieu of art, provocation and politics to an audience enraptured by the idea of a female planet. Her music is a form of cajoling, of berating the intelligent listener into acquiescence with a worldview which details an overt and deliberate infantilisation of the mind and soul of the human condition. She uses slogans as both safety nets and intellectual traps, not Adorno-referencing sonic hooks, but as critiques of the branding that we see all around us on an ever-increasing daily basis.

There are strains of her back catalogue to date throughout the record - you’ll spot Sonic Youth style guitars and Free Kitten’s raucousness, but this is very much a Kim Gordon record where she is reaching out beyond her previous work. ‘Cookie Butter’ and ‘Hungry Baby’ shake and unsettle, while ‘Get Yr Life Back’ closes the album with an homage to the industry of well-being.

It has taken Gordon quite some time to deliver her first solo album, although she has produced sterling and essential work with Bill Nace as Body/Head. Sonic Youth’s is a fairly large shadow to step away from; Thurston Moore and Lee Ranaldo have produced albums following the same sonic formula, yet their output to date is noticeably weaker, as Sonic Youth were the epitome of a band who were greater than the sum of their individual parts.

Gordon has stepped up with a body of work which shines. Not only does it illustrate her multi-faceted nature and the depth of her songwriting capabilities, it surpasses anything that any of the Sonic Youth alumni have managed to create thus far. No Home Record is impossible to listen to without making reference to her former band, yet it stands alone as the finest work of a magnificent, imposing talent.