US - New York - Full Moon 171 - 08/24/10
4AD / Playground
The New York trio Blonde Redhead is back this fall with their new single "Here Sometimes" from their upcoming album Penny Sparkle.
Since their self-titled debut album in 1995, the band, consisting of Kazu Makino, Amedeo Pace and Simone Pace, has delivered an interesting musical journey in their
discography. In the first years they played alternative and experimental rock. At some point (maybe with the release of Melody of Certain Damaged Lemons in 2000)
the band turned low key and played music along the lines of dreamy pop rock. In 2005 they released the exceptionally strong album Misery is a Butterfly, which
is perhaps one of the sweetest albums of the last decade (strong statement yes, check out the album if you haven't). The album is based on somewhat dreamy vocals, catchy
beats and sweet melodies. After the release of the album 23 in 2007 not much has been heard from the band, with perhaps the soundtrack for the documentary film
'The Dungeon Masters' as the only exception.
So where does all of this leave their latest single "Here Sometimes"? The most striking is the use of synth. I'm not sure I want to make comparisons to Depeche Mode,
but then again I guess I just did. Kazu Makino voice is easily recognised and the overall Blonde Redhead touch is still there, just wearing a new and different suit.
Personally I feel something is missing and it seems Simone is more into computers on this song than behind his drum set (the rhythm section has always been really great
about this band). But innovation and evolution is a good thing, and the beat, the vocals, the lyrics AND the synth make a good song from a great band. But all in all I
don't feel that "Here Sometimes" quite comes up to the level of their best songs from previous albums.
In retrospect though, both the singles "Elephant Woman" and "Equus" from Misery Is a Butterfly as well as "23" and "Silently" from the 23 album, were
not really (in my opinion) the strongest tracks from either of the albums. So if history serves as a guide, the upcoming album may still hold some very pleasant surprises.
The new album Penny Sparkle will be released September 13th. The tour kicks-off in Milan September 11th and will continue through the fall, including concerts
on both sides of the Atlantic.
Copyright © 2010 Torkil Sletten