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Boomkat Product Review:
Blonde Redhead seem to have been around for donkeys years now, but it's only recently that they've really started to make an impression on me. Their last album 'Misery is a Butterfly' was a sensitive and haunting record, showing a refined musical direction from a band who often struggled to get away from comparisons to early Sonic Youth, and '23' takes their progression even further still. I would say this is the band's first pure pop album, and it begins on a high with the title track which sounds suspiciously like classic shoegazer music. When I say classic shoegazer I don't mean it sounds 'a bit like Slowdive' either, this is a track that could have fallen off the back of the lorry carrying master tapes of 'Loveless' to the pressing plant - it's that good. Founder and singer Kazu Makino's vocals sound better than they ever have mixed nice and high and drenched in reverb and simply put this is the music that reminds me why we all fell in love with 4AD in the first place. Gorgeous female whispers, crushing harmonic guitar noise, pummelling percussion... it might not be the most forward-thinking or modern music I've ever heard, but when the songs are this good who's bothered about the finer details? This willingness to travel into pop excess carries through the rest of the album, and although it occasionally threatens to overwhelm the more discerning listeners among us with the faint sound of Dubstar (well I liked 'em okay?) for those most part this is pure shoegazing bliss. I honestly didn't expect the band to pop up with an album of this quality, this sort of unashamed guitar-pop doesn't crop up often enough for my liking, we seem burdened week after week with bands trying desperately to be trendy with their Hoxton haircuts and references to post-punk records they never even heard, so to hear a band like this avoiding any kind of fad or fashion just sounds right. This is good quality, honest pop music and revels in being so - just right for the summer season then I'd say? Party like it's 1993. Recommended.