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- Posted on Sep 17th 2010 3:00PM by Mike Ayers
Now the New York trio has returned with its eighth full-length, 'Penny Sparkle,' its most melodic and dreamy to date. Recorded with influences stemming from time they spent in Stockholm, Sweden, vocalist/guitarist Kazu Makino says the process of getting this material wasn't as easygoing as the sounds might suggest.
"We couldn't really finish anything," Makino tells Spinner. "It was quite chaotic. Everybody had a complicated time working on it."
For example, opener 'Here Sometimes' sounds a bit more electronic than past songs, with Makino's vocals simply stating, "I can see the lack of fireworks," and that her "lips keep failing." Electronic influences continue throughout, most notably on 'Will There Be Stars' and 'Love or Prison.' While both have an understated, subdued feeling, Makino sees exactly the opposite.
"It doesn't feel mellow to me," she says bluntly. "It was really intense for me -- every song has a lot of concentration from me. It's more like every tune was a challenge to me. Even now just playing it, it's terribly tense. I can't really relax around it."
For 'Penny Sparkle,' the group reteamed with Alan Moulder (My Bloody Valentine, Depeche Mode) for mixing duties. They'd previously worked together on 2007's '23,' and he no doubt has helped shape their sound into what it is today. Still, Makino feels shaken by laying these tracks down, even months after recording ceased. "It's a very emotional approach," she says. "Things are shifting so much. It was a really mental, psychotic experience."
Blonde Redhead are currently on tour in Europe and will kick off the North America portion of the 'Sparkle' tour on Oct. 15, starting in Philadelphia. 'Penny Sparkle' is out now on 4AD.