Sonic Youth returns with avant-garde recordings from 2000-2010 with ‘In/Out/In’


Sonic Youth, a noisy rock band that formed in the early 80s and split in 2011, released an album of unreleased songs recorded between 2000-2010. ‘In/Out/In’ is the root of Sonic Youth’s soul, containing their classic, experimental and almost erratic alternative sound.

‘In/Out/In’ starts out a bit mellow with ‘Basement Contender.’ It’s very melodic in a delicate rock way, differentiating itself from the rest of the album’s more jagged tone.

The best track, ‘In & Out’, (not based on the food franchise) stands at around seven minutes and sticks out the most. 

Kim Gordon, vocalist and guitarist, is heard throughout the song, which is rare for these releases. 

This might be the only song from the album that I would willingly listen to at any time. It sounds the most finished and the other tracks somewhat feel like they should be listened to on specific occasions. 

‘Machine’ consists of a lot of guitar build-up which is exciting on the ears, then it’s deadened and taken over by drums and the process is reiterated, progressing even heavier. 

This track is the shortest out of the five and has a satisfying sound that doesn’t make me wish for lyrics to come along and fulfill me as I feel toward some of the others.

‘Social Static’ feels a bit overcompensating. It’s interesting and experimental–like Sonic Youth always is–but it stands at almost 12 minutes, which makes it feel a bit tedious and repetitive. It sounds like the aftermath of a song or set. 

In other words, if it were cut in half, you wouldn’t be missing much, though it is very avant-garde just like the rest of the album. 

‘Out & In’, almost the reverse of ‘In & Out’, feels a bit draggier and moodier, but sounds nice and wild.

Consisting of elongated droopy-ish sounds–this is the best way to explain the beginning– it feels a bit glum and dramatic, but throughout the song, it’ll occasionally transform into angrier heights at swift paces. 

The one thing these songs are missing is vocals minus the occasional hums and whispers of Kim Gordon. Being almost purely instrumental and somewhat unfinished are the main factors as to why this album may pleasure certain ears only.

‘In/Out/In’ isn’t an album that I would voluntarily listen to doing everyday chores, but I don’t dislike it and I’m quite happy it’s released. 

It’s allowed me to trick my brain into thinking the band is “back.” Without vocals, this is exactly Sonic Youth at its core and you couldn’t mistake it for anyone else.