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There's a sense of familiarity to the new Thurston Moore album. Unlike his previous solo record (2011's Demolished Thoughts) this new LP sets its sights right at the space previously occupied by a New York four-piece called Sonic Youth. In fact it's not too difficult to simply see The Best Day as a follow-up to the band's potentially final record The Eternal. Certainly all the stylistic hallmarks remain. The guitars ring and squeal and create melodious noise, the rhythm section drives the songs towards the right intensity, always knowing when to ease of the gas slightly, and above all of this Thurston Moore's voice rises, the lyrics the usual mix of the banal and fantastical.

Those looking for a scoop on Moore's recent, and widely publicised, separation from Kim Gordon will be disappointed to learn that The Best Day offers no insight into Moore's life then or now, or at least the only clues it offers is of optimism and nostalgia. For the most part the guitars are bright and shimmering, echoing the maturer sound Sonic Youth wielded on their later record (and a world away from Moore's last record with Chelsea Light Moving). This sense is further evidenced by the album cover which depicts Moore's mother in a lake with a dog "it conveyed a sense of peace and calm in a world where we don't always have that," Moore stated in an interview with the Guardian. Perhaps Moore is trying to recapture that sense of security that came from being in one of the most successful and influential alt-rock bands - that would certainly explain why so much of The Best Day seems to recall the work of Moore's former band. He's even joined by Steve Shelley (Sonic Youth's drummer) as part of his band.

'Speak to the Wild' opens with a series of descending plucked harmonics, calm and soothing, before settling into a steady groove of strummed guitars and soft percussion. One of the record's longer tracks at eight-and-a-half minutes, it meanders a little, but is a hypnotic, enchanting song that revels in mysticism and hints at a dismantling of ego. Much of the track's runtime is given to an cyclical instrumental that builds in intensity, but ultimately ends in an anti-climax. This is nothing new for Moore, and if anything it's one of Sonic Youth's regular stylistic flourishes, particularly notable in their more mid-tempo tracks - something Moore sticks to here.

The gorgeous alt-folk of 'Tape' sees Moore and his band strike a balance somewhere between his 2011 solo record Demolished Thoughts and a track like 'Unmade Bed' from Sonic Nurse. A softly spoken ode to mixtape culture and marrying it to images of a blossoming relationship, 'Tape' is an instantly relatable, heartfelt track that really shows how Moore can excel in this mellower, almost introspective groove. It also allows him to get the best out of his supporting band, with some sublime bass riffs from Deb Googe of My Bloody Valentine, that are a world away from the brash noise of her regular band. Steve Shelley. Meanwhile Moore and backing guitarist James Sedwards, complement each other on 12-string acoustics.

Steve Shelley is notable in his apparent absence from 'Tape' but he more than makes up for it in other tracks, contributing driving percussion in 'Forevermore' and 'Germs Burn' that help to propel the tracks forward. Particularly in a track like 'Foreveremore' Shelley's rhythms help hold together a track that perhaps meanders just a little too much.

This is perhaps The Best Day's biggest flaw. Whilst its relatively long track lengths ('Forevermore' runs to 11 minutes) allow Moore to steadily build the songs, some tend to feel a little flabby, with drawn out instrumentals, a little too much repetition and a lack of distinct tempo change resulting in rather dull progressions. 'Speak to the Wild', whilst overall an entertaining, engaging track, spends a little too long building up to nothing, before repeating the opening harmonics and a final run through of the first verse and chorus. On the other hand 'Grace Lake' manages to change up its formula just enough each time to keep things feeling interesting throughout its near seven minutes. It also provides the best link back to tracks like 'Theresa's Sound World' with its progression from soft guitar riffs, to heavier, psyched-out chords that rumble at the lower end of the aural spectrum.

There are some other nice moments, such as the Zeppelin-esque freak-folk of the titular track, but after an interesting opening melody, the track moves the stomping folk guitars to the back to be almost hidden underneath a more typical, crunchy alt-rock lead. 'Vocabularies' is also a decent acoustic track, but doesn't really do much that we've haven't seen before, whilst 'Germs Burn' spends almost six minutes going nowhere, resulting in the album ending on an oddly abrupt note. 'Tape' and 'Grace Lake' stand out as The Best Day's few essential tracks and prove that Moore is more than capable of carving out his own path in a sound that, whilst still relatively similar to what he's done before, offers him room to continually expand the boundaries. It's just a shame that these gems are surrounded by material that's just not as strong, or consistent as we've come to expect.

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