THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 04, 2014 |
Posted by: Rebecca Chodorkoff
Blonde Redhead's new album Barragán rings true to the trio's roots; showcasing temporal, emotional, and musical range that has characterized the group's 21 year long collaboration. Familiar and comfortable, but still vague and offbeat—Blonde Redhead's newest effort proves that they've been in the game long enough that rules need not apply. The album showcases moments of distant shoegaze dreampop, interspersed with unexpected flashes reminiscent of jazz improvisation and electro dance. The ten tracks on Barragán are diverse, interesting, effective, and definitely worth a listen.
Songs like "The One I Love" drive home the fairytale-princess-gone-awry vibe that Kazu Makino's sugary vocals tend to elicit. Layering stringed instruments and modest vocal loops, Blonde Redhead's super strangeness shines through in this one. The haunting lyrics describe the reluctant life of the song's mysterious subject: "She does nothing all day/ but sit down and cry/ she touches the sky/and wishes to die," and the song closes out with distorted harp sounds and an abstract percussive pitter-pattering, like the urgent footsteps of a child. This tune is creepy and transportive. It leaves a sour feeling in the stomach and a sadistic curiosity about the fate of the depressive protagonist.
"No More Honey" is perhaps the most immediately enjoyable piece on the album. This tune focuses in on Makino's breathy wails, paired with heavy guitar reverbs. Throughout the song, she taunts again and again; "Whatever you do/ I won't be sorry/ No more honey." The juxtaposition of hard instrumentation and Makino's soft melodic whispers feels dirty and guilty and damn satisfying.
Barragán adds a few gems to Blonde Redhead's already extensive repertoire, and proves that innovation doesn't just come from newbies.