Review作者： Rebecca Bengal（发布于2019.5.9）
到了《Evol》发行时，乐队的阵容开始固定下来，Steve Shelley取代了鼓手Bob Bert，组成了包括Gordon、Thurston Moore和Lee Ranaldo的原始阵容。
在这张专辑发行时，sonic youth已经是涉猎广泛的文化挖掘者。《Sister》问世时，专辑封面拼贴了一张Richard Avedon的照片和一张来自迪斯尼的magic kingdom的快照（这两张照片后来都被遮挡或删除）。但乐队在他们对声音的执着塑造中完美地阐述了他们的艺术身份。自从他们的首张EP以来，他们一直在改变他们的吉他的调音和乐器的使用法，这是Ranaldo和Moore在与Glenn Branca一起演奏的日子里学到的一种做法。在《Sister》中，乐队在一个不那么自由的、更熟悉的背景下演绎了这些词汇--他们对Crime的 "Hot Wire My Heart "进行了一种粗糙的翻唱，虽然表面上听起来是纯粹的garage，但仍然指向一个politically subversive（读者请自行查阅翻译，中文过不了）的地下音乐传说（1978年，这个旧金山朋克团体在圣昆丁州立监狱穿着与看守相同的制服为囚犯们表演，这个故事令人难忘）。《sister》也对民谣进行了解构。著名的"Cotton Crown "发现Gordon和Moore在安静的不和谐吉他声中唱出了罕见的和声（"Angels are dreaming of you"）。"我们对流行歌曲的结构感兴趣，所以我们会做一些你不相信可以用在流行歌曲结构中的东西，在我们手里这东西会变为可能，"摩尔在《Sister》发行一年后告诉一位采访者。
对于这张专辑的录制，SY在Sear Sound的录音室里找到了解决方法。Sear sound是坐落于曼哈顿midtown的一间录音室，由Walter Sear经营，他是一位受过古典训练的大号演奏家，也是Robert Moog的朋友，Walter曾帮助调整Moog的乐器，使他的乐器更便携。他的工作室，当时位于派拉蒙酒店内，是一个老式模拟设备的宝库，包括Moog合成器（其中一个出现在 "Pipeline/Kill Time"中，这是SY第一次使用合成器），真空管麦克风，以及用于录制专辑的16轨录音机。尽管音响效果很差，戈登在《Girl in a Band》中写道，Sear "帮助我们实现了声音的幻想"。
乐队也在阅读被崇拜的形而上学科幻作家Philip K. Dick的作品，在《Sister》的创作过程中，他的尖刻的、有远见的作品和创伤性的生活经历充斥了全部的制作过程。第一首歌 "Schizophrenia"暗示了Dick写的一个关于他的双胞胎妹妹Jane的短篇小说，她在婴儿期就死了；迪克在他的余生中强烈地感受到了她的逝去给他的感觉，在死后，Dick被埋在她身边。"Schizophrenia"和"Stereo Sanctity"都提到了《VALIS》，这部小说的灵感来自于迪克的一次神秘顿悟，当时一个戴着基督教鱼形符号项链的女人把药店的处方送到了他的家门前。他称之为 一条信息，是从"Vast Active Living Intelligence System（VALIS）"中得到的众多信息的其中一条，VALIS是一种用AI的声音和他交流的生命形式。在小说中，VALIS插入人类的大脑中，通过他们分裂的心灵重新安排世界。Moore告诉Creem，《Sister》是Philip K. Dick协会那个月的月报中的“最佳唱片”，但你不必了解迪克的作品，就能从Shelley的鼓的追逐般的心跳感和美丽的不和谐的吉他高潮中领会到充斥着专辑的偏执和经验的两面性。（“Sister was record of the month in the newsletter of the Philip K. Dick Society,” Moore told Creem, but you don’t have to know Dick’s work to apprehend the paranoia and duality of experience that suffuses the album from the first racing heartbeats of Shelley’s drums to the beautifully discordant guitar crescendos.”）
（译者注：文中提到的Philip K Dick的小说，译者还未阅读过，如果与小说本意存在出入请各位谅解。除此以外，段末这句话有些饶嘴，在句末放上原文给各位进行对照阅读吧。）
Erik Davis在1989年发表在Spin上的乐队简介中写道：“当Dick在《VALIS》中写到 ‘神圣的象征最初出现在我们的世界中的垃圾层（the symbols of the divine show up in our world initially at the trash stratum）’时，他预见到了音速青年的歌词。”
《sister》是关于“现实和梦想之间的界限”（如果有的话），据唱“Pipeline/Kill Time”的Ranaldo说：“如果专辑中的其他地方有歇斯底里的毁灭，这首歌则提供了黑色的最后一击(歌词："I think you know the place that we should meet/Don’t worry if it’s dark and I’m late"）。“
In March 1987, when Sonic Youth headed into the studio to record what would become their fourth full-length album, they were looking for a “rawer, more immediate sound,” Kim Gordon writes in her memoir, Girl in a Band. If the sublime double-album apex of Daydream Nation, released the following year, signaled a new phase, a door broken open, Sister was an explosion, the last hinge popping off. It was a gloriously climactic finish to the quartet of albums that followed Sonic Youth’s eponymous debut EP: Confusion Is Sex, with its subterranean clang and drone; Bad Moon Rising, which, with a title lifted from Creedence Clearwater Revival, represented the band’s dark-side answer to the American ’80s of Petty, Springsteen, and Mellencamp; and 1986’s brilliantly plangent Mansonian excavation, Evol, which garnered this diss in a review by People magazine: “the aural equivalent of a toxic waste dump.” It was proof, anyway, that the mainstream was already tuning in. By Evol, the band’s lineup had coalesced, replacing drummer Bob Bert with Steve Shelley to complete the original lineup of Gordon, Thurston Moore, and Lee Ranaldo.
Already, Sonic Youth were wide-ranging miners of culture. When Sister came out, the cover collaged a Richard Avedon photograph and a snapshot from Disney’s Magic Kingdom (both were later obscured or removed). But the band best articulated their artistic identity in their obsessive reworking of sound. Since their debut EP they had been altering their guitar tunings and instrumentation, a practice of rewriting Ranaldo and Moore picked up in their days playing with Glenn Branca. On Sister, the band renders that vocabulary in a less free-form, more familiar context—their grainy, revved-up cover of Crime’s “Hot Wire My Heart,” though pure garage on the surface, still points to a politically subversive underground canon (in 1978, the San Francisco punk group memorably performed for inmates at San Quentin State Prison while dressed in uniforms identical to those of the guards). Sister deconstructs ballads, too: The epic “Cotton Crown” finds Gordon and Moore singing a rare harmony (“Angels are dreaming of you”) over quietly dissonant guitars. “We’re interested in pop song structures, so we’ll do something that you wouldn’t believe could be used in a pop song structure but we think it could be,” Moore told an interviewer a year after Sister’s release.
For the album’s recording, Sonic Youth found both channel and container within the walls of Sear Sound, the midtown Manhattan recording studio run by Walter Sear, a classically trained tuba player and friend of Robert Moog who had helped steer the synthesizer inventor toward making his instruments more portable. His studio, then located inside the Paramount Hotel, was a trove of vintage analog equipment, including Moog synthesizers (one of which appears on “Pipeline/Kill Time,” the band’s first use of a synth), vacuum tube microphones, and the 16-track recorder used to record the album. Though the acoustics were lousy, Gordon writes in Girl in a Band, Sear was “the fulfillment of our sound fantasies.”
The band was also reading the cultishly metaphysical science fiction writer Philip K. Dick, whose mordant, visionary works and traumatic life experiences were very much in the air during Sister’s creation. The opener, “Schizophrenia,” alludes to a short story Dick wrote about his twin sister, Jane, who died in infancy; Dick felt her loss keenly for the rest of his life and was buried beside her. Both that song and “Stereo Sanctity” also reference Valis, a novel inspired by a mystical epiphany Dick had when a woman wearing a Christian fish-symbol necklace delivered a drugstore prescription to his front door; it was one of many messages he received from what he called the Vast Active Living Intelligence System, a kind of life force that communicated to him in an AI voice. In the novel, the Valis inserts itself in the brains of humans, reordering the world through their splintered psyches. “Sister was record of the month in the newsletter of the Philip K. Dick Society,” Moore told Creem, but you don’t have to know Dick’s work to apprehend the paranoia and duality of experience that suffuses the album from the first racing heartbeats of Shelley’s drums to the beautifully discordant guitar crescendos.
“Schizophrenia” would remain a staple of Sonic Youth’s setlist, a song that still summons the band’s cathartic essence. Keanu Reeves recently sang it to a GQ writer at the Chateau Marmont. Who can blame him—Sister contains some of Sonic Youth’s most up-tempo and trenchant songs: the brutal annihilation of “Stereo Sanctity,” with a dystopic sentiment lifted from Valis (“I can’t get laid ’cause everyone is dead”), the brief blitz of “White Kross,” and one of their most classically punk songs to date, “Catholic Block,” where Shelley’s time as a hardcore drummer recieves full expression, underscoring lyrics sung by Moore: “I cross myself/It doesn’t help.” “When Dick wrote in Valis that ‘the symbols of the divine show up in our world initially at the trash stratum,’ he was anticipating Sonic Youth’s lyrics,” Erik Davis wrote in a 1989 profile of the band published in Spin.
At its core, Sister plays with the duality of appearances. “Pacific Coast Highway” returns to the shadowy Los Angeles underworld of Evol and Bad Moon Rising, evoking the naive trust of a girl thumbing a ride to Malibu. Chillingly, Gordon takes on the voice of the predator who picks her up. The song shifts into a deceptive lull, a tranced-out California dream of an instrumental, which is then rebroken by a wave of feedback and the return of Gordon’s menacing refrain: “I won’t hurt you/As much as you hurt me.” A rock album rooted in underground surreality offers a kind of twisted reassurance: How boring would it be if the world were simply as it appears on the surface? Sister is about “the line between reality and dreaming—if there is any,” according to Ranaldo, who sings “Pipeline/Kill Time.” If there’s dystopic annihilation elsewhere on the album, that song serves up the last-ditch shot of noir (“I think you know the place that we should meet/Don’t worry if it’s dark and I’m late”). A conspiratorial, fatalistic sense of liberation embeds itself in the idea of killing time till the end of the world. The song and the album dissolve into a corrosive storm of feedback, wordless and transcendent, delivering.