Blonde Redhead
23


4.0
excellent

Review

by Nick Butler EMERITUS
June 13th, 2007 | 41 replies


Release Date: 2007 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Multi-national indie rockers strike paydirt with their 7th album - a remarkable, beautiful dose of neo-shoegaze.

Blonde Redhead belong to a lineage that also includes Saetia, Guillemots, Hadouken, and The Arctic Monkeys. By this I mean, they're a band that I avoided for ages because of the kind of people who rave about them (be it people I know, the NME, or certain famous people). Yet, they're also a band, like the others mentioned, that I eventually checked out and loved. In all honesty, what I expected was nothing like this - everybody I know who talked about this band was a hardcore scene kid (I loathe the phrase, but you get the picture). Now, if somebody had bothered to tell me, 'here's a band that used to sound a lot like Sonic Youth, but now pitches themselves somewhere between Interpol and My Bloody Valentine....'

Certainly, this album starts excellently. "23" is a brilliant slice of neo-shoegaze, good enough to have been on Loveless (ya, srsly!). "Dr. Strangeluv" and "The Dress" are a little more straightforward, but equally impressive and beautiful. "SW", meanwhile, moves the band musically into a territory that reminds me of The Twilight Singers circa Blackberry Belle, and the vocals sound a bit like Scott Matthews. There's even a brass/horn fanfare halfway in. What's not to love here? So far, it's four tracks of easily listenable, gorgeously textured indie rock with great melodies.

Now, there are dozens (actually, probably hundreds) of albums that get to this point and get me wishing that they'll keep it up.....and then they start sliding in quality. 23 doesn't. "Spring and by Summer Fall" actually makes me wonder if I'm over-rating what's gone on so far, because so few albums get this far with me getting this much enjoyment from every track. "Silently" restores my faith - it's slightly more pared-down, in that there's less going on musically, but that melody is absolutely undeniable. The remaining four tracks are again very, very good - "My Impure Hair" deserves a mention for being the only song so far that sounds easy to replicate live, featuring as it does a prominent acoustic guitar and cleaner, more basic electric guitar line. Yet, the swirls and effects remain, elevating it - it reminds me a little of Slowdive's finest moment, "Dagger", which was also a pared-down, more acoustic track at the end of a dense shoegaze-inspired album, although, if I'm being honest, "Dagger" is the better song.

I can honestly say that I'm shocked by just how good, and particularly how consistent, this album is. I'm tempted to make more slightly retarded comparisons to Loveless, and that, really, should tell you enough about how great this music is. It's lush, deep, produced and executed to near-perfection, and the songs are just plain beautiful. It manages to be as enigmatic as something like Espers, without sacrificing the accessibility it so effortlessly displays. To top it off, there's not a bad track in sight. Stalling it on a rating of 4 does seem a little harsh, but it should be noted that if I ranked every album I'd rated a 4, this would probably make the top 10. Speaking of top 10 lists, if this isn't in my top 10 of 2007 come the end of the year, I'll be shocked - in what's been a surprisingly good year so far, this still manages to shine through. Definitely recommended.



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Tyler Fisher EMERITUS (4)
23 is huge. Take that any way you want, because it applies....


Comments:Add a Comment 
La Revolucion
June 13th 2007


1060 Comments


One of the best of the year so far. Nice review.

RandyfromPennywise
June 13th 2007


752 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Downloading this as we speak. Or as I type, or whatever. Pretty nice review = votes. You're pumping them out of late... good to see! :thumb:

astrel
June 13th 2007


2614 Comments


I have been avoiding this band like the plague as well, maybe I should give them a shot if they have a good shoegazer sound...

Slaapkamers
June 13th 2007


596 Comments


you should get their albums that are like
good

La Revolucion
June 13th 2007


1060 Comments


Attn: Anyone who wants to like Blonde Redhead

Get this and Misery Is A Butterfly first.

EDIT: And probably Melody Of Certain Damaged Lemons eventually too. Cause it's good.This Message Edited On 06.13.07

The Jungler
June 13th 2007


4827 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Get Misery first, Lemons second. This is good, but it can't top those. I still need their earlier stuff.
Good review as always. Didn't you get re-staffed?

astrel
June 13th 2007


2614 Comments


alrighty then

Iai
Emeritus
June 13th 2007


3553 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Nah. I was on the original staff list on the forums, but for some reason I was never added to the actual list on here, despite saying I wanted to be. I'm like ghost staff.

Iai
Emeritus
June 13th 2007


3553 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

NP: "Monologue: Walk Through Walls" - Jeff Buckley

RandyfromPennywise
June 13th 2007


752 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Wrong thread? Or maybe I just don't get it. Anyway, just given this two proper listens the whole way through, and it's tops.

pixiesfanyo
June 13th 2007


1223 Comments


am i a hardcore scene kid?

=[

Iai
Emeritus
June 13th 2007


3553 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Did you ever recommend them to me? The only people I remember talking about them much on the forums were Nacho and NPC.

I'm kinda being hard on the people I know who talk about them in real life - they're good guys, but they do have a habit of blasting a buttload of band names into the air all at once, and the name 'Blonde Redhead' ended up jumbled in with names like 'Cap'n Jazz', 'Hot Cross', and 'Will Haven' in my mind.

Speaking of, what are Will Haven even like?This Message Edited On 06.13.07

pixiesfanyo
June 13th 2007


1223 Comments


Metalcore. Shai Huludish. I dig on Blonde Redhead a lot though, I think maybe you overrated this album a little, I gave it a 3.5. Seems like a lot of people are really digging this on MX though. Also, I find it weird that I hate Loveless but love all these other shoegaze bands.

Iai
Emeritus
June 13th 2007


3553 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Ah, okay. I heard one Blonde Redhead track a few years ago on some compilation I picked up free with a magazine, and to be honest it did nothing for me. Then again, this may well have been back during the days when I thought Morning View was one of the 10 best albums ever, so whatev. I was gonna knock my rating down to 3.5 when I was asked to review this, but when I listened to it again, at times I was tempted to go up to 4.5.

I've gotta track down Misery soon.

pixiesfanyo
June 13th 2007


1223 Comments


Alex didn't like Misery as much as this. I think it is better but you and Zappa seem too have more similar tastes than You and I.

Iai
Emeritus
June 13th 2007


3553 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Yeah, probably. I'll check it out anyhow, as well as Lemons - I've somehow stumbled upon a load of free time for the next few weeks, which is where all the reviews are coming from.

McP3000
November 14th 2008


3941 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

just listened to this and it was better than i expected. i could see this going up to a 3.5

zakalwe
March 22nd 2014


9162 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Seriously, what the fuck is this severe lack of comments about?
1st in over 5yrs.........album rules

Digging: The dB's - Stands For Decibels

Futures
March 22nd 2014


12464 Comments


Damn. Spring and by Summer Fall is a jam gotta check the rest.

Digging: The Twilight Sad - Nobody Wants To Be Here And Nobody Wants To Leave

zakalwe
March 22nd 2014


9162 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Good lad!



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