Blonde Redhead have been churning out records of psychedelic power pop for nearly two decades now, but it was only with the release of their last record, 23, where they threatened to stamp their mark into the mainstream.
From the first thumping drum beats of ‘Here Sometime’s, the first track on Penny Sparkle, you get the impression that you are in for a repeat performance of 23, i.e: the euphoric screaming vocals of Kazu Makino that blend into the dreamy synthesisers and guitar hooks that makes perfect upbeat pop music.
Although most fans wouldn’t have minded this, considering the standout classic tracks on 23, Penny Sparkle delves into something far deeper than its predecessor, creating a record that’s full of space, and although it might not create the instant three minute pop bliss that tracks on 23 achieved, Blonde Redhead could just have made their best record yet.
Part of the band’s charm has always been to use production as a tool to push their limited four piece sound, and utilise the beautiful voice of Kazu Makino’s as the driving force behind what direction the songs take.
There are definitely remnants of The Cure’s Faith here, particular that deep bass guitar sound on tracks such as ‘My Plants are Dead’ or ‘Love or Prison’, where the tracks sound as if they have been recorded down a man-hole such is the vastness and space that is created within them.
The final track, ‘Spain’, ends the album on the perfect finish note as Makino screams ” I don’t really ask a lot, I just want a crazy life.”
A definite contender for best record of 2010.