After releasing a 4 track EP, Headlines
, Blood Brothers Johnny and Mark return with Neon Blonde's full length debut, Chandeliers in the Savannah
. Building upon the wierd ideas presented in Crimes
, the latest Blood Brothers record, Chandeliers in the Savannah
uses influences ranging from hardcore bands to the pop stylings of Prince and Michael Jackson to the experiments of Brian Eno and Roxy Music.
Mark Gajadhar - Percussion, Drums, Programming
Johnny Whitney - Vocals, Guitar, Bass, Organ, Keyboards, Piano, Vocals, Programming
Joel Cupin - Saxophone
If one phrase could be used to describe this excellent full length debut from Neon Blonde, it would be "all over the place". The last record from The Blood Brothers only hinted at the wierdness that takes place on Chandeliers In The Savannah
. The album cycles through dance tunes, indie rock, full blown screaming, piano ballads and electronic experiments, just to name a few. While The Blood Brothers show excellent and experimental ideas with their music, it's as if Neon Blonde gives insight into Whitney's head. He pretty much has total creative control, as well as playing a vast majority of the instruments on the record. More than anything, Chandeliers In The Savannah
seems as if if all of Whitney's wierd ideas have exploded onto the one disc, though it also seems like there are plenty more where they came from. Gajadhar's role in the band seems much less prominent. It seems likely that Johnny doesn't play drums and he wanted a drummer to work with. Gajadhar, being already in The Blood Brothers with Whitney was an obvious choice. Composed of many different musical styles, this is one of the most fresh and original albums of the year.
So Neon Blonde are original, fun, clever and they rock out. But more importantly, the actual songs are excellent. Extremely catchy and fun, Whitney's songwriting is at it's strongest on this record. Most of the songs demonstrate some very wierd sounds, while being incredibly catchy. What is even more unreal about this album is that the ideas were all almost entirely the work of Whitney. Neon Blonde also showcases some of his highest vocals yet. Songs like "Chandeliers and Vines", "Dead Mellotron" and "Cherries In Slow Motion" feature his signature falsetto style of twisted singing. Album opener "Black Cactus Killers" sounds much like it could be a Blood Brothers song, while "The Future Is A Mesh Stallion" is an electronica song, Johnny Whitney style. Whitney's vocals are a definite highlight of the record, while the instrumentation is equally impressive. A huge range of keyboard instruments, electric and acoustic guitars as well as tinny and cheesy drum machines litter the record. Every song different, but the album still flows extremely well. The first album from Neon Blonde is a great look into the mind of Johnny Whitney, as well as a highly original album full of excellent songs. Influenced by everything from hardcore to ambience to house to indie to hip-hop, this is one of the best indie (if you can call it that) records of the year. Highly reccomended.
Johnny Whitney's insane vocals
Great mix of sounds in songs
Production could be better
The drum machines sometimes sound tinny; this could be viewed as a good or bad thing
Chandeliers and Vines
Cherries In Slow Motion
FINAL RATING: 4.5/5