Thurston Moore’s bruising, darkly uplifting single is a fed-up scream for light in a dark age. Biting guitars drone high and sparkly, then turn into a rhythmic low-pitched grumbling matched by a punk jungle drumbeat. Thurston’s familiar voice croons in subdued patterns above it. A pretty, exotic chord change as a bit of relief, then back to the doom beat. Electric guitars sounding like they’re being played delicately with rakes intertwine and melt into electric guitars sounding like they’re being played roughly with feathers. Constant mesmeric drums.
There is a nice juxtaposition of sparse, quick lyrics and then drawn out haiku of trance-inducing guitar solos. The words are simple and direct: “Cease fire, cease fire … free love, free love, can’t you see there’s God above?”
It is a cry for peace from the bottom of a dark well of hate and chaos. Thurston’s played enough noisy guitar to blast out of his skull any notion of political, geographical or religious rivalry as anything but cancerous poison to our great human species, and with this song the aged and wizened art-punk pioneer cries out a simple call to lay down arms and join him in his free-artist compassionate utopia.
“This song is about the power of love,” says Thurston. It is loving request to burn flags and erase borders.
The track sounds like everything that is great about Sonic Youth — a fantastic band that Thurston was once in — with their timeless scratched up guitar-bass-drums double helix thumping below crystal clear, almost spoken-word drawling but angry vocals.
In “Cease Fire” the interweaving instruments sound eternal and the message is eternal. You can hear the track and read Thurston’s full statement on it here, and here some of the lyrics.
“cease fire, cease fire
can’t you see the kids are wired?
one last cigarette
watch them smile and see them sweat
free love, free love
can’t you see there’s God above?
heaven’s tower’s open fire
free love, free love!”