Friday, April 27, 2007

23 - Blonde Redhead

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Ok, so another day another band who's got to seven albums before I've ever heard of them. What can I say? It's both impossible to know about EVERYTHING, and I'm just not that "cool". They're two Italian blokes, one Japanese woman, were discovered, or at least brought to prominence, thanks to the drummer from Sonic Youth and their new album has Alan Moulder (Smashing Pumpkins, U2) at the producing helm. Yes, thank the stars for Wikipedia. (So if any of that information is false, don't blame me; I mean some places tell me this is their NINTH album).

Which all goes to mean that whilst I can't comment on this album in respect of it's (many) predecessors, I can objectively look at it as a single entity. And having done so I have to admit that it doesn't quite grab me as a cohesive whole.

At it's best it has some genuinely affecting moments. Dr. Strangeluv, with its haunting mix of eerie synthesizers and edgy guitars is really rather quite good, as is Silently, which one reviewer called akin to an ethereal, lost Abba classic. And even if I don't agree particularly with that sentiment, I can see what he was getting at. It also has to be said that singer Kazu Makino's voice, whilst undoubtedly being an acquired taste, does actually get under your skin and draw you in.

But these songs are of a level that Blonde Redhead can't keep up over the course of a full album. Whereas those two songs lift you up into an other-worldly atmosphere, the likes of Publisher and Spring And By Summer Fall are just dull and uninspiring. The fact that Amedeo Pace takes over the singing duties for those two may not be entirely a coincidence.

So whilst there are a handful of tracks that will no doubt stay on my MP3 player, there's just too much on here that disagrees with me. It's not an awful record, by any stretch of the imagination and it certainly has its moments. But those moments are not enough to completely save the record as a whole. And whilst there's enough to suggest that a selective trawl through their back catalogue could unearth some gems, I don't think I'd rush out and buy all their albums.

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