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Music Review: Blonde Redhead – 23

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Sound: Intricate rhythms churn beneath collages of mystical, mesmerizing and ethereal guitars and synths. Then, above the dense layers, Kazu Makino’s angelic vocals float, coo, and whisper, while Amedeo Pace occasionally takes over with a creepier, more aggressive and forlorn male perspective. Overall, though, the mood on 23 is brighter, more wide-eyed and enchanting than their last album, the despondent Misery Is A Butterfly (my #6 album of 2004).

Heavy Rotation tracks: “Silently”; “SW”

Medium Rotation tracks: “Spring And By Summer Fall”; “Top Ranking” “The Dress”

Recommended: 23 has the same hypnotic and captivating quality of the last two Blonde Redhead albums. This time around, though, the music isn’t quite as stunning. They sound relatively comfortable in their modern-day groove and don’t push the compositions into as many bold and challenging directions.

Also, the album lacks the same level of knockout highlights as Misery Is A Butterfly (“Equus,” “Elephant Woman” and “Falling Man”) and my #5 album of 2000 Melody of Certain Damaged Lemons (“Hated Because of Great Qualities,” “This Is Not” and “Melody of Certain Three”). On the other hand, 23 is consistently entrancing from start to finish with no lowlights until the final track. Blonde Redhead remains one of the most original and singular bands of the decade.

Grade: B+

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