Saturday, September 18, 2010

Blonde Redhead

Add Date: September 14

Blonde Redhead

Penny Sparkle


Rock, synth pop

Something seems amiss on Blonde Redhead's Penny Sparkle, the band's eighth studio LP and third for 4AD (The National, Camera Obscura, St. Vincent). Blonde Redhead have always been adept at blending dreamy pop and experimental post-punk, a combination that has won them favorable comparisons to Sonic Youth--mainly for the latter style, naturally--and has kept them relevant 15 years after their debut record was released.

But the guitars take an unfortunate backseat to synthesizers on Penny Sparkle, which has more than its fair share of sparse, downtempo, and, quite frankly, boring tunes that seem like they're about to explode into something special--but most of them never do. I hate to sound pessimistic, especially about such a great band, but the glass seems only half-full here. Still, the good moments are very good, in particular the opener "Here Sometimes" and the woefully brief "Everything Is Wrong," which, perhaps fittingly, ends about two minutes too soon.

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