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Music

On paper, it’s impressive that this is the tenth full-length by the cologne-based duo of Regina Janssen and her White Stripes ambiguous partner Günther Janssen. That’s a good-sized catalogue to deal with. However, if all their songwriting has been as simple as that exhibited on More (especially highlighted by the repetitive “Cry Baby”), that explains a lot. Sure, Regina’s breathy vocals and child like lyricism is as charming as Husky Rescue and most of Monika Enterprise’s stable, and Günther’s piano driven chamber pop ambiance has helped shape Karaoke Kalk’s classy retro-futuristic aesthetic since its founding. Compared to the average Billboard act, Donna Regina’s music is fine overall. However, Regina has a very limited range and Günther’s instrumentals, though full of good sounds, are ultimately not very adventurous or strikingly dynamic (which doesn’t help Regina’s flatness). It’s kinda like someone sucked all the glitch and surreality out of Broadcast’s Tender Buttons. If Donna Regina is a carton of 2% milk, Broadcast is chocolate.

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Author of blurbs, curator of playlists, and booker of shows, Alan Ranta has been plugging away at that music writing and programming thing since 2004. His brutally honest critical opinion has appeared in such publications as Exclaim!, CBC Music, PopMatters and Tiny Mix Tapes, and has been enlisted to help judge the Polaris Music Prize, Pazz & Jop, and Juno Awards. Based in East Van, he graduated with a BFA in music from Simon Fraser University in 2012. He's also a social media plague, cat whisperer, socio-political haranguer, Canucks fan, and one of the last remaining cowboys, with a butt that won't quit.


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