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coverpic flag US - New York - Full Moon 32 - 05/30/99

The Ladybug Transistor
The Albemarle Sound
Merge

Hmmm. The difficult third album. Their last album, Beverly Atonale, was (still is!) a pearl, a sparkling fountain of fresh, young pop-folk. The Brooklyn, NY youngsters (I guess they are getting older) - or; "the grandchildren of Velvet Underground" as I named them earlier here at the Kafé - do a third attempt for a bit more fame and fortune. I also mentioned the Scot-gang Belle and Sebastian (I still don't understand what happened when they suddenly hit the charts last year - even here in Norway!) as a possible reference.

The Ladybug Transistor sound more British than ever (there's even a song called The Great British Spring). Since last album they've become a sextet (even if the cover pics still implies a quartet). There's more trumpets, more strings, more flutes, more saxes than in... a huge orchestra. Their folky pop has maybe gotten a bit lost in arranging the songs this time. Still the sound of LB is quite... appealing. Charming is maybe not the most wanted description to get sticked onto an album, but "charming" is the word that comes to mind while listening to The Albemarle Sound. They radiate a summery feeling, a breeze of warm winds, chilled by a (cover) song called Like a Summer Rain (actually it's raining while I'm typing this). Nevertheless, altogether this record does not whip-start the same feelings Beverly Atonale gave me. It's more like: "Hey, what's going on? Are they stuck on a side-track or what?" Of course there are nice and cool, or smart and whimsy songs here, like Oriental Boulevard, The Swimmer, Oceans in the Hall, and the Latino/Morricone-like instrumental Cienfuegos. But I'm not even close to being blown away.

Am I rude? No, just honest, and I haven't said I won't play this LP over again. I guess I will, cause it's still good company. Even if it's not what I hoped it would be.

Copyright © 1999 Håvard Oppøyen e-mail address

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