Let us look at the Baroque signs that just bleed from Blonde Redhead's latest Misery is a Butterfly , after a long hiatus since 's Melody of Certain Damaged Lemons. First, the title, of rather Baroque foreboding -- uh, yeah, sure, misery is a butterfly. Makes sense to me. Does it make sense to you? OK, it makes no fucking sense at all beyond an impossible ambiguity that nonetheless portends some ominous gravitas. Both are delicate things?
Blonde Redhead have long been maligned as self-consciously artsy, drawing facile comparisons to Sonic Youth and a host of No-Wave Blonde Redhead have long been maligned as self-consciously artsy, drawing facile comparisons to Sonic Youth and a host of No-Wave acts-- references that owe as much to their bandname's tribute to a DNA song as to Blonde Redhead's often discordant noise-rock. That rhetoric, of course, should've been shelved after the release of Melody of Certain Damaged Lemons. I only felt I should mention it again because, apparently, many of their party-line detractors never got the memo. By Melody , much of Blonde Redhead's feedback-laced art-rock had given way to brittle pop and arm's-length romanticism, yet somehow they still caught flak for the sound they had already largely outgrown. Just saying, is all: What used to be true is now tired, and, with the release of Misery Is a Butterfly , such knee-jerk dismissals can finally be considered irrelevant.
There was a time in the not so distant past when every release from the seminal English label 4AD Records was a must have for music collectors. Each piece was a veritable treasure embodying a certain otherworldly transcendental spirit that reached from the artwork of Vaughn Oliver's V23 design house to the mind-boggling creations from artists like the Pixies, Cocteau Twins, Dead Can Dance, and Throwing Muses. In an effort to recapture this winning formula, 4AD has ventured across the pond and snatched up cult artists like newcomer Cass McCoombs and longtime one-man band the Mountain Goats.
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