Lee Ranaldo – In Between Dreams


Album: Between the Times & The Tides
Artist: Lee Ranaldo
Label: Matador
Rating: 7

The thing about being in a ground breaking band is that they tend to cast long shadows over the careers
of everyone involved. It’s a phenomena that’s ruined more then a couple solo careers, but you just can’t keep some musicians down. Lee Renaldo is definitely one of the later group. The influential musician, writer and co-founder of Sonic Youth probably has the most extensive and most interesting solo career that you’ve never heard of. Though still ever the experimentalist, Between the Times & The Tides is a much more traditional kind of rock n roll that really shines when it’s stripped down to the essentials. “Xina as I knew Her” is a prime example of the haunting lyrics and a melancholy guitar solos that make up the golden moments on this record.

It’s not all roses though, while the deep acoustics of “Hammer Blows” start off feeling really compelling, about half way through Renaldo bursts into a string of “waa, waa, waas” that sound like they were done on a talk box, which was something I had hoped was dead and buried a long time ago. At that point I lost it and started laughing, the song then goes on and ends on some slow beating bongos for whatever reason. The record features a couple other similar backfires, mostly the result of some bad sound effects that seem like they were dredged up from early 80’s rock.Whatever the rough spots though, it does little to dampen my enthusiasm for the upbeat acoustics of tracks like “Lost” and fans of Renaldo will recognize his signature wacky electric tunings all over this record.

Fans will also probably also have fun pouring over the liner notes of the album to see all the celebrity cameos. If you’re not already a fan of Renaldo’s solo work though, this album probably won’t make you one.

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