Blonde Redhead: Melodie Citronique

Blonde Redhead
Melodie Citronique
Touch and Go

If I had a dime for every time I ran across a band comprised of Italian twin brothers and a Japanese girl singing in French I’d have exactly 10 cents more than I’m being paid to write this review. I’d be 15 cents shy of the cost of a weekday newspaper. If someone requested my two cents worth I’d only have eight cents left over. Do you see what I’m saying here? (Nod or I hit the dead horse again)

What say we dispense with the Rip Van Winkle-tired comparisons to Sonic Youth? At the risk of having my flesh gnawed off by the sharp toothed beasts of music critic hell I’ll say it: they’re exhaustingly overrated. We aren’t talking noise for the sake of noise here. Lurking ‘neath this art-house exterior is a group as fascinated with hooks as any pop band worth it’s mustard. It’s just that instead of lustrous polish Blonde Redhead’s shine-kit sports an ample supply of moody dissonance, which they deftly apply to the Indie soundtrack vibe that permeates their music.

This band would easily entertain without vocals, but it’s the odd combination of Japanese and Italian inflected tones that made me fall in love with them. When you hear Kazu Makino’s shimmering voice hovering above the sparseness of “Four Damaged Lemons” you’ll know what I mean. Amedeo Pace’s Italian vocals on the almost Beatle-ish “Chi e’e non e” are as engaging as Simone Pace’s well placed no frills drumming.

The only knock I have on this release is the brevity of it. With less than 22 minutes of music and every song but one a different version of a previously released one the thrill of hearing the band sing in French and Italian (which they usually don’t do) is a short lived one. I advise you to pick up a copy of their last full-length album Melody of Certain Damaged Lemons so you can get an idea of what this trio is up to. I also highly recommend 1997’s Fake Can Be Just As Good and 1995’s La Mia Vita Violenta.

Although Melodie Citronique isn’t the best starting point for the Blonde Redhead virgin, the fact remains that it’s a far better return on your money than the glut of formulaic discs currently playing pied piper to the wallets of American consumers. “Gee Wally, this band sounds exactly like four other bands that I like. I’ve got to get their new album!” ‘N Sync and the Backstreet Boys sell billions of records while daring trios like this push a few thousand units of music that may actually awaken an untapped portion of your brain with its inventiveness. If you don’t like the sound of that then you better get moving. The other lemmings are leaving you behind.