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coverpic flag US - New York - Full Moon 92 - 04/05/04

Blonde Redhead
Misery Is a Butterfly
4AD

Volatile, brooding, cathartic, tense/anxious, manic, bittersweet, energetic. These are the words used by All Music Guide to describe what Blonde Redhead are up to. Misery Is a Butterfly is the NYC based threesome's 6th album proper. And the descriptive words still fit, even though the new record feels a bit softer - without being soft at all.

It's been almost 4 years since their last album, Melody Of Certain Damaged Lemons, and it's taken almost a year since the recordings for this one to hit the streets. For the third time Fugazi's Guy Picciotto besat the producer's chair. What else is new: they've left Touch and Go to enter the British 4AD label. A fitting label for the band if I must say so, as they - sort of - could be labelled as something midway-between the Cocteau Twins and the Pixies. Japanese Kazu Makino and the Italian-born (Milan) Amedo and Simone Pace create music of magic and forcefulness for sure.

What strikes me is the feeling of Blonde Redhead making music with layers of sensuality and sexuality. Their careful noise-pop/rock carress you in a most pleasant way. Kazu and Amedeo are switching on being in charge of the mic (and words), both playing soothing and atmosperic guitars, while Simone puts up underlaying rhythmic patterns; a steady and most creative drumbeat. You don't miss the bass guitar (the former fourth member, bass-player Takahashi left after their 1st album) because of Amedeo's baritone guitar giving the music its right pulse.

From Kazu's fragile opening "Elephant Woman" the album is a pure pleasure cruise, with Amedeo's "Doll Is Mine" and "Falling Man". "Anticipation" is great, with the soothing voice of Kazu, backed with a pleasantly discreet guitar solo. Then comes the more rocky, whirling "Maddening Cloud". Fascinating. Not to forget another beauty highlight; the quiet title track, sung by Kazu. And, yes, Kazu's "Magic Mountain" as well. But my absolutely fave track is the carouselling, almost dizzying "Pink Love", with Amedeo and Kazu sharing the vocals. And, yes, of course the closing "Equus", a noisier piece by Kazu. Equus - the horse god. Blonde Redhead shove godlike magic as well.

I didn't discover Blonde Redhead untill they visited Oslo's Øyafestivalen in 2001. The year after I had the pleasure of seing them live for the second time at All Tomorrow's Parties, UK. Misery Is a Butterfly was recorded a year ago. About time it was released! Get it and love it!

Copyright © 2004 Håvard Oppøyen e-mail address

You may also want to check out our Blonde Redhead articles/reviews: Øyafestivalen, Oslo, 11.08.01, 23, Barragán, Dripping, Here Sometimes.

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