“Experimental rock” has never been a particularly useful descriptor, as it can reasonably describe any band that veers even slightly away from conventionality. Put some horns in the bridge on one song? Alternative tuning on another one? You’re avant-garde without doing much of anything. If any band really deserved the label, it was Sonic Youth. Their songs felt less like songs and more like puzzle boxes that were designed to frustrate the creator and the consumer equally.

Since their career ended in a not-so-honorable fashion, members have stayed busy, but there hasn’t been anything masterminded by anyone that has really caught fire. Maybe the closest thing to a Sonic Youth member having a much-hyped album this decade has been Steve Shelley drumming on Sun Kil Moon’s Benji.

Body/Head, Kim Gordon’s guitar duo with Bill Nace, can’t match Sonic Youth’s peaks, but they can remind you of why she was so instrumental in said peaks. I (and surely millions of others) was first hooked by Gordon saying “You’re it” on ‘Teen Age Riot.’ The Switch, their second album, more or less picks up where 2013’s Coming Apart left off. Although, Gordon and Nace seem unfazed about the idea of unfinished business.

This is experimentation through subtraction. Gordon and Nace relieve themselves of percussion, not letting their guitars fill in gaps but asking why we need to have gaps to fill in at all. They also do away with structure, like Gordon’s ex-husband/bandmate has been. It makes sense. After all, if you’ve spent decades as icons of tinkering with what electric guitars are capable of, why wouldn’t you just throw out the rule book?

The Switch moves in a quietly menacing fashion. Guitars crawl, moan, and hypnotize as you try to anticipate if and how they’ll move. If the title has any specific meaning, it could be how a track can change its trajectory severely through the slightest of adjustments. Opener ‘Last Time’ reaches a point of soothing tranquility before a shivering drone leads to a high-pitched one that closes the song out. Gordon only gets a few words in, near the middle, like her and Nace’s guitars are begrudgingly showing them deference.

At times, it can be easy to forget that this was even made by Gordon or even made by humans. The Switch isn’t anonymous or soulless, but it does have an unhuman aesthetic. 'In The Dark Room' best exemplifies this. Sandpaper textures and bellowing storms each try to find their place as they hop from channel to channel. Gordon’s voice is absent, but not missed, because she’s capable of resonating even without vocalizing. The album works bests when the vocals something of a counterpoint to the guitars. Gordon’s quivering vocals feel redundant against the also-quivering guitars on ‘You Don’t Need,’ but her honest reflection about mistakes on the especially-dissonant ‘Change My Brain’ (one of two ten-minute tracks) is enhanced by the harshness that surrounds her. As it shifts into a more melodic state in the last half, it’s like Gordon is allowing herself some kind of emotional freedom.

The other ten-minute track, ‘Reverse Hard,’ closes things with deep swells ideal for power electronics. It starts off as ghostly before an intense shift in volume as Gordon’s voice enters. It revives the quivering vocals, but there’s more power to be found, especially with how they drop out and return in smaller bursts. Consider it a microcosm for why Gordon is such an experimental legend. She’s not one to try things out once and call it a day. She wants to try things out as many times as they demand.