The task remains then to separate this album from Blonde Redhead's previous works and to move on. The album still features the distinctive vocals of Kazu Makino and Amedeo Pace, but the band seems to have ditched instruments entirely in favour of synthesizers and programming.
The band journeyed between Stockholm and New York whilst recording Penny Sparkle, and this seems to have resulted in the starker, cleaner sound. The album does pick up somewhat towards the end with “Oslo” and “Black Guitar”, but “Spain” was the only track on the album that I liked enough to play on repeat.
I have to conclude that Penny Sparkle is too different, too far removed from the mayhem and cacophony of Blonde Redhead’s former sound for it to earn a comfortable position amongst my other Blonde Redhead discs. I understand that the band has redefined their sound and settled on a new musical direction but as I mentioned previously, an album has rarely left me this divided.
I would recommend this album for fans of minimalist, alternative, electronic music. Fans of The Knife or The xx may like Makino and Pace's vocals and the synth sounds. However, fans of Blonde Redhead's earlier catalogue should proceed with caution and give the album a good listen before going ahead and purchasing it.
I'm going to refrain from giving the album a star-rating on this occasion, as I intend to listen to it repeatedly until I grow to like it. Such is my dedication to this band that was once one of my very favorites.