Lay listeners can be forgiven if they hear "23," the title track from Blonde Redhead's seventh album and its second for ethereal-rock standard-bearer 4AD and think they stepped into a very English retread. The song isn't simply shoegaze redux, fitting perfectly with Ride, My Bloody Valentine, or Lush songs from the turn of the decade; it's even better than a lot of what that period drizzled out. Starting with a few hesitant, needling, gauzy keyboard chords, it soon dissolves to a loose-fitting drumbeat and slow-build guitar billow, with vocalist Kazu Mikano drifting through the mix. She sings the melody perfectly clearly, but the words are hard to understand—and beside the point. By the second verse, when the lead guitar becomes more pointed while the rhythm guitar turns blurrier and the drums pick up steam, "23" is clearly the kind of song that can leave its accompanying album behind. That doesn't happen here, though.
I like the symmetry of that sentence. Go, check it out and see what you think. Neat, huh? Where was I? Oh yeah, the new Blonde Redhead. I was actually about to make a snarky comment about how the album kicked ass right out of the gate and then started to flag a bit only three songs in on "The Dress", a fairly moribund tune which is only partially redeemed by a cool keyboard riff.
Release Date: Tracklist. Album Rating: 3. Good review, but we disagree slightly. This is somewhere between a 3 and a 3. Misery is a Butterfly is much better than this, it's just way darker, and more original.
Staff Pick. Reviewer Rating. User Rating. Blonde Redhead split ways with Touch and Go a few years ago, and after considering being free agents, they said "We're going to need a bigger boat" and got picked up by 4AD.