by Phil Scarisbrick
It is easy to package solo albums as either ‘what we’ve come to expect from’ or ‘a total departure from their day job’. When it comes to Kim Gordon though, both these statements seem completely redundant. The band she was a part of – along with ex-husband Thurston Moore – until 2011 were one of the most unique around, not least because of their unpredictability. Sonic Youth transcended genre, creating some of the most iconic alternative albums of the last thirty years, with Gordon being absolutely key to it all. After eight years without that artistic vehicle, we get to hear No Home Record, her first solo record. And it was definitely worth the wait.
Nothing about the album is straight forward, which makes it even more engaging. Channelling the anarchy that saw her delve into music in the early eighties ‘No Wave’ New York scene, there is a fire that smoulders throughout the record. Paprika Pony’s backing could easily be a hip-hop track, but hears Gordon add words and phrases seemingly without link, encouraging the listener to fill in the gaps. Air BnB is a skewered, and direct rant about the online rental company. The jagged guitars feel uncomfortable, before exploding in the chorus. Murdered Out is a dystopian punk track that sees Gordon switch between flecks of oral colour to buckets of it being thrown at the wall.
Elsewhere, Cookie Butter‘s jungle rhythms take the record on another left turn, while Get Yr Life Back’s sinister tone swells and warps across five dark and uncomfortable minutes. It is an album that demands repeated listens, not least because there is so much happening in the initial drama. It throws everything you think you know about Kim Gordon out of the window, except confirming one thing: that she is a total one-off, and the world is a better place for having her unique take on it available for us all to hear. At sixty-six years old, it would be easy for her to look back, but this record focuses on the future, and what that future holds who knows? But one thing is for sure, if they’re as good No Home Record, hopefully it will include many more Kim Gordon records.
Secret Meeting score: 82