ALBUM REVIEW: Blonde Redhead – Penny Sparkle

pennysparklezz
Need more awesome? Listen to our FAVORITE SONGS OF 2014. Make sure you don't miss any tunes: FOLLOW US ON TWITTER.

ALBUM REVIEW: Blonde Redhead – <i>Penny Sparkle</i> ∴

STREET DATE: 09.14.10 | EMUSICALBUM REVIEW: Blonde Redhead – <i>Penny Sparkle</i> ∴ | AMAZON| INSOUND | ITUNES

RATE PENNY SPARKLE:
[STARRATER]

Listen to Blonde Redhead’s 1995 self-titled debut. Note its downright debauchery, punk rock attitude, and experimental use of guitar distortion, especially for that era. Now try on their eighth full length, Penny Sparkle. Sounds pretty contrasting, like hearing All Eyez On Me after For Emma, Forever Ago. But for a real patriot of music who fancies synth pop and trip hop as much as progressive, Penny Sparkle delivers gratification of an equal caliber. Though many die-hard fans were dismal about 2007’s 23, where the usually eccentric outfit sound warm and cordial, the altering moods and sparkles of this record will ultimately sway their convictions. Enlisting the Subliminal Kid (Fever Ray, Glasser) as producer, the trio of Kazu Makino and Simone & Amedeo Pace were keen on creating an entirely new sound on this LP and they’ve succeeded.

On the first few Blonde Redhead records, Makino’s icy vocals could draw comparisons to Bjork, or even The Cranberries’ Dolores O’Riordan. On Penny Sparkle, she sounds like Karin Dreijer Andersson of The Knife. There are undeniable traces of Subliminal Kid all over this album; the savvy electro pop “Oslo” will likely appear on disco blog spots, title track “Penny Sparkle” adopts Fever Ray’s fondness for the offbeat and nostalgic. There are engaging moments that don’t conform to electronica; “Will There Be Stars” sounds like classic Thievery Corporation, “My Plants Are Dead” comparable to Beach House, “Everything is Wrong” reminiscent of the warped dreaminess of Melody Of Certain Damaged Lemons, a pinnacle moment in the band’s career. Lead single “Here Sometimes” is the most accessible Blonde Redhead has ever sounded in their 17 years together; a gloomy synth overtone accompanying Makino’s soft articulation “Now it’s day and I am dreaming/A man walks by I want to be his wife/I’m only here sometimes/Under the tree of life.” Though it appears they have basically abandoned instruments, the group is, for their first time ever, creating significant palpable music.

From dream pop abiding hipsters, to loungers who adore getting stoned to trip hop, to the goths who will appreciate the murky bass lines and sedated electronic scores of this record, Penny Sparkle is repertoire to be loved by all, one that will seriously broaden the BR fan-base. It is a validation of Blonde Redhead’s commitment to the avant-garde, even if it is ridiculously easy to listen to.

80 — [Rating Scale]

Listen

[soundcloud]http://soundcloud.com/hostessentertainment/sets/blonde-redhead-penny-sparkle[/soundcloud]

What did you think?
 2  1  1  0
SXSW-W
News

Other artists include Twin Peaks, Bishup Nehru, the Dodos, Alvvays, and more

HAERTS-HAERTS-608x608
Music

The up-and-coming indie pop band release two new tracks in anticipation of their self-titled debut, which drops next week

annie4
Music

Check out a new video of the Australian pop star’s contribution to the new Annie soundtrack

mystery skulls forever
Music

Look no further to get rid of some winter blues.

Capture
Music

Hear a new Nina Simone-sampling track from the New York duo

rihanna
News

Fans have uncovered what appears to be an internal Roc Nation memo.

Shy-Glizzy-Awwsome-Remix-608x608
MP3

Hear a new remix of the Washington D.C. rapper’s underground anthem

ought once more
Music

Plus, watch a video for “New Calm Pt. 2.”

low pros
Videos

Starring Scott wandering through a Blade Runner-esque futuristic city.