Let's talk about classic music from the turn of the century.
And by that, brave warriors, I mean the year 2000.
We'd all survived the runup to, and letdown from,
the Y2K silliness, and were back to consuming
way too much, way too often, with way too
few concerns for way too many.
In other words, life was GREAT.
The fave album at the Fen-by household
was Red Hot Chili Peppers' Californication.
I was constantly scouring music periodicals to find out
more about their resurgence, and during one particular
interview with their guitar great, John Frusciante, he
mentioned he was a big fan of a band which was
opening for the Chilis, called Blonde Redhead.
So I followed Frusciante's lead and picked
up Blonde Redhead's fifth album:
'Melody Of Certain Damaged Lemons'.
I popped the CD in the house system and...
wow... I liked... no... LOVED what I heard.
The band's three-person lineup (minimally augmented
with tasty studio overdubs) yielded an inventive, musically
challenging sound that appealed directly to both me AND
my lovely lady, Pamela. Which was quite a big feat,
considering that our musical tastes differed mightily,
with respect to anything that sounded
remotely like progressive rawk.
I think the main difference between 'normal' prog rawk
and the permutation performed by Blonde Redhead was
that their lead singer was - and still is - a quirky Japanese
woman named Kazu Makino, whose accented vocal
prowess cast a spell on both Pam and me.
Her musical partners, twins Amedeo and Simone Pace
also added high quality vocals to the mix, not to mention
their Boston-trained percussive and stringed prowess.
The songs themselves run the gamut from the 6/8
intensity of Melody Of Certain Three, to the almost
Parisien pop of In Particular, to the stark, emotive
balladry of Hated Because of Great Qualities
my favourite track on the album: "A Cure".
With great shared lead vocals, "A Cure" feels at once
like a Yes song, albeit with PFM-like male vocals,
accented by Kazu's breathy rejoindres.
The combination still feels fresh and invigorating,
a full decade or more down the road of life.
Here's "A Cure", following a brief backyard
visual from my trusty camera eye.
Moss the Elder