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BLONDE REDHEAD - Misery is a Butterfly

Format: CD
Label & Cat.Number: 4AD CAD 2409CD
Release Year: 2004
Note: digipack with art-booklet
Price (incl. 19% VAT): €15.00

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Wonderful album by one of the best spheric / emotional and genre-breaking / transcending Pop/Rock-bands of this planet, now on the cult-label from the 80s / early 90s, 4AD, and working with strings (i.e. played by EYVIND KANG) !

Freed from all constraints, Blonde Redhead are beautifully reborn on Misery Is a Butterfly. True, feelings of loss, insecurity, and outright alienation do factor heavily into the record's thematic vision (this butterfly isn't called "Misery" for nothing), but the band's sense of assuredness surrounds the album's themes of vulnerability. Misery Is a Butterfly was recorded before being shopped to a label, but judging by the sound of the album, its eventual release on 4AD seems to have been an inevitability. From track one, the record is lacy and moody, perfectly suited to the one-time home of the Cocteau Twins and This Mortal Coil. The word "lush" doesn't quite capture the fluttering whirls of strings, keyboards, and delicately plucked guitar that open "Elephant Woman"; I'd go so far as to label such enveloping richness of instrumentation "baroque," perhaps even "rococo." For Blonde Redhead's latest incarnation, the softer production simply serves as polish for tarnished, tired guitar, drums and keyboards. Here, the bristling energy that once held would-be sympathizers at bay has been turned inward, resulting in an unprecedented illusion of warmth. "Anticipation", for example, ventures into completely foreign territory for the band; it's vulnerable, yet remains emotionally available, and is breathtaking even in comparison to the band's most typically pretty compositions. Never before have Makino's gentle whispers seemed so genuine or close at hand. The psychedelia-inflected title track and the fractured desolation of "Falling Man" also offer inviting hints of the underlying humanity Blonde Redhead had, until now, been so reluctant to display. Of course, even now, that humanity may be little more than an apparition. Their tales of heartache and desperation have cast Makino and Amadeo Pace-- the emotional heart of the band-- as tragically misunderstood, tortured poets who pin misery on their sleeves, never conceding that anyone else could be capable of understanding their pain. And despite the more inviting nature of Misery's music and production, they remain insular and distant here, as well. Only on "Anticipation" are Makino's vocals as beckoning as their musical surroundings; elsewhere, Blonde Redhead remain as they've always been: beautiful and vacant......