Thursday, April 11, 2013

Illinois Entertainer Reviews 2012: R

Between the Times and the Tides 

That the guitars are still sonic and the vocals still youthful is practically all that’s noteworthy about this ninth solo album from Thurston Moore’s and Kim Gordon’s erstwhile bandmate.  “Xtina As I Knew Her” borrows its melody from Neil Young’s “Like an Inca” and “Lost (Plane T Nice”) its riff from New Order’s “Age of Consent” as surely as “Tomorrow Never Comes” borrows its overall vibe from The Beatles‘ “Tomorrow Never Comes,” and the two acoustic songs drag.  But it’s the lyrics, especially coming from a published poet, that disappoint the most.  Whether recycling clichés or forcing rhymes, Ranaldo has nothing to say and no special way to say it--unless inadvertently shilling for Skittles in “Off the Wall” by citing a rainbow “shattered into pieces” on the floor counts.


If last year’s seventy-eight-minute, twenty-seven-track Rarities/B-Sides was too much of a good Raveonettes thing, this tirty-one-minute, nine-track album is too little.  No sooner does Observator establish what the Everly Brothers would’ve sounded like if one of them had been a sister and both of them were trapped in a David Lynch film than it ends.  Fortunately, it establishes something else too: namely, that as long as co-producer Richard Gottehrer is on hand to help Sune Rose Wagner transform the musical ideas he comes up with when he goes on drug-and-boozed-fueled benders into flattering soundscapes for Sharin Foo’s singing, Wagner should be drugged, drunk, and depressed more often.  As for Foo, especially on “The Enemy,” she’s a lover, not a fighter.

Listen Up! 

Listen Up! isn’t bad as album titles ending with exclamation points go.  But Now That’s What I Call Music! would’ve fit this album too.  Not that Reinhart sounds like all things to all people.  Her un-Auto-Tuned voice is her own no matter which pop-R&B style she’s inhabiting.  But she delivers in abundance and enthusiasm what it has become fashionable for female singers to sound as if they’re delivering only under duress: a nuanced grasp of the dramatic trajectory of the songs she’s singing.  Getting from the flirtatious bounce of “Oh My!” to the soulful heartbreak of “Undone” is impressive.  Getting from the proto-disco of “Now That You’re Here” to the blue-eyed gospel of “Walking on Heaven” is practically miraculous.  And, man, can she sing.

Illinois Entertainer 2012: S

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