Saturday, 2 August 2008

Blonde Redhead, 23

Blonde Redhead, 23

Blonde Redhead, the New York trio led by spooky Japanese warbler Kazu Makino, have managed to become a massive band of the underground indie scene and yet remain totally unknown to most. Their stubborn obscurity is pretty baffling when you consider that not only have they been around since your first day at school, they’ve been consistently peddling a line in the kind of knowingly hip, studied intensity that made Sonic Youth their millions.

Yet new record 23 is a different prospect altogether. Stripped of their earlier volatility and angular guitars, Blonde Redhead have smeared Vaseline on the lens to place these ten tracks in softer focus, brooding and lush in the best possible shoegazey style. It even feels like a cousin to the eerie romanticism of Sigur Rós, giving you sudden and inexplicable yearnings for fjords and glaciers. Yet 23 also has an exuberant, childlike quality that only a band with Japanese influence could provide: ‘SW’ is the soundtrack to a creepy anime flick rudely interrupted by a Sergeant Pepper brass band meltdown, while Makino’s wispy voice is the snug security blanket guiding you throughout this pounding, woozy headspinner of a record. Best to get on the Blonde Redhead bandwagon before everybody else does, then.


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