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coverpic flag US - New York - Full Moon 131 - 06/01/07

Blonde Redhead
23
4AD

It seems like Blonde Redhead have travelled further into 4AD-land, with their second album for the label. They're still making lush sounding and dreamy pop of the elegant kind and of melancholy nature. 23, their seventh album, is more fairy-tailed and adventurous than they've ever been. It's also their most polished record so far, without too many (or any) rough edges. In stead: Let there be mysticism. 23...

The number 23 is maybe the most...uh... mystic/magic (is it?) number of them all. In religion, astronomy, mathematics, science, you name it. Or is it just from the fairy-tales? Anyway, this 23 holds 10 songs and opens with the song "23", which is sort of like (a sporting version of) the Cocteau Twins doing a Kate Bush song ("Running Up That Hill" in particular). A pleasant starter, showing a softer Blonde Redhead, with Kazu's velvety voice on top. Kazu is singing most songs, at least on side one (of the LP), but she and Amedeo make a very nice blend of vocals. "Dr. Strangeluv" follows the starter, playing cool, but it's the next track, the thrilling "The Dress", that really hits it. It's a breath-taker, a storm's eye of power and beauty, so sensual it almost (almost) hurts. "Spring And By Summer" is a different one. It's more of a speedy kind of song, and very catchy indeed, with Amedeo singing lead. As a contrast comes "Silently" - almost being...disco? Strange.

Blonde Redhead is a great band making soft noise music, floating through dreamy landscapes, with pulsating rhythms. Simone is a great drummer, well, in fact, the threesome is an extremely tight unit. 23 still need some growing time with me. It doesn't compare with their last album, the fantastic Misery Is A Butterfly, nor their second last, the even so brilliant Melody Of Certain Damaged Lemons. I'd better play it 23 times to see what happens...

Copyright © 2007 Håvard Oppøyen e-mail address

You may also want to check out our Blonde Redhead articles/reviews: Øyafestivalen, Oslo, 11.08.01, Barragán, Dripping, Here Sometimes, Misery Is a Butterfly.

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