Red House Painters
Red House Painters II


4.0
excellent

Review

by ubermensch5000 USER (6 Reviews)
October 8th, 2013 | 15 replies


Release Date: 1993 | Tracklist

Review Summary: If it makes you feel good...

How do you review a Red House Painters album? Well, you shouldn't. Yet here I am, struggling to describe the album in plain words. But I do know Kozelek and his crew have a knack for packaging honest emotion in their tunes. This isn't your gooey, lovey-dovey emotion either - it's pure, unadulterated musical emotion, free from the common stereotypes and methods that many artists use when creating an affecting album. Even with the most painful song on Red House Painters II, there is always a vestige of tranquility. Delightful phrases are in abundance as per usual - tracks such as "Bubble", "Uncle Joe", and "New Jersey" retain the delectable RHP riffage. While collecting the remaining songs from the sessions that produced Red House Painters I, this third LP from the group is no less loving.

The cover of Simon and Garfunkel's "I Am A Rock" and the closer, "Star Spangled Banner", seem to be the only tracks keeping this album from shining as one of RHP's greatest achievements. It must be noted, however, that Kozelek has always been somewhat sardonic and black in his humor. This shows with the inclusion of "Star Spangled Banner", as I have my doubts about the true nature of Kozelek's patriotic spirit. At any rate, the downbeat mutated version of this well-known anthem still plays off nicely. While the more acoustic "New Jersey" appears on their previous album, a reworking of the song rocks on Red House Painters II. This electric-guitar driven number is one of the more pop-oriented tracks. Koutsos' subdued drumming keeps the tempo throughout, with pleasing fills here and there.

Slow, droning songs always find their way in with RHP, evident on the ambiguous "Helicopter". The chords seem to hold the listener in suspension, and I'm still not sure how the song was intended to make me feel. Others possess a clear sense of melancholia: "Uncle Joe" is an RHP masterpiece. "Where have all the people gone?" Kozelek cries out in the first verse, immediately joined by strumming acoustics, a somewhat overblown bass, and a devilishly tasteful guitar line. "Blindfold" is a real treat for any RHP fan 'cause it's the only time we'll ever hear Kozelek force a gut-wrenching scream. The evolution of the song itself is something to marvel at: it begins with the sluggish drone only to change tempo halfway through, accompanied by a riff to end all riffs. The song morphs even further in mood, ending with the infamous Kozelek shriek. If you don't listen to this album, at least listen to "Blindfold".

The cons? A few, but they are extremely minor complaints: I can't help but to feel that Kozelek's vocals are a bit underwhelming on a few tracks (particularly "I Am A Rock"). And at the end of the day, Red House Painters II is a collection of tracks not included on their previous release - but that doesn't make them any less powerful. It does affect the album as a whole though, as I often find myself digesting the album in pieces rather than giving the whole thing a listen.

Regardless, Red House Painters II is a killer album. Quirkiness (those eerie voices at the end of "Evil"), melancholia ("Bubble" and "Uncle Joe", among others), ambiance (slightly attributed to Vessel's sustained method of playing the bass), and first-rate songwriting combine to make an album that every fan of RHP should lend an ear. All in all, Red House Painters II demonstrates the even an album of b-sides can have the quality of a regular RHP release. Truly an overlooked gem.



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user ratings (62)
Chart.
3.5
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
HolidayKirk
Contributing Reviewer
October 8th 2013


1638 Comments


Mega props on reviewing an obscure album.

bakkermaarten007
October 8th 2013


3601 Comments


This is simply a very well written review. You said it was hard to review this and it was the right
angle to start with, it appears. Pos

scissorlocked
October 8th 2013


3511 Comments


it's good to see this reviewed. Band is great

Digging: Traumprinz - All The Things

wabbit
October 8th 2013


7009 Comments


Yeah


Underrated hard

Dunwich
October 8th 2013


491 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Nice to see this overlooked album getting a respect it deserves.
"I Am a Rock" is ok but nothing spectacular (which is little bit suprising, since Koz does covers better than pretty much everybody else). "New Jersey" isn't really on par with it's Rollercoaster twin, but the original material is as good as it gets. And "Star Spangled Banner" is a sweet little closer.

Dunwich
January 19th 2014


491 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

"I am not very well READ and did you say that I will lose my HOUSE and can you spare me of my PAIN and can you spare me of my TEARS oh, uncle Joe..."

Get it?

treeqt.
January 19th 2014


9704 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Mega props on reviewing an obscure album.


treeqt.
January 25th 2014


9704 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

blindfold doe

ShitsofRain
January 25th 2014


5911 Comments


what u expect from an ubermensch5000?

Digging: Round One to Round Five - 1993-99 Main Street Records

Chortles
February 10th 2014


17996 Comments


this is mad underrated

Digging: Jacaszek - Treny

treeqt.
February 10th 2014


9704 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

much better than 1 and dch

Havey
February 10th 2014


9701 Comments


is it though

Chortles
February 10th 2014


17996 Comments


no



Wadlez
February 10th 2014


4323 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Tree spouting crazy speak

Digging: Kayo Dot - Coffins On Io

treeqt.
February 10th 2014


9704 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

isn't even close



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