Friday, July 17, 2015

Return of the Steam Punk Queen Rasputina's " Unknown"

A long time fan of these gals, to the point that  I am actually trying to get them to play my wedding on Halloween, it works out that their tour comes close by at the same time, so fingers crossed and I'll post a link to our Hallowedding fund page to raise the scratch for them as well as our Disney to the music. I'll be as objective as possible. The first song has all the elements that you could want from them. The smart lyrics and overlapping harmonies. The album was recorded in three weeks and is about how Melora was hacked and stalked through the Cloud.

Things get weird quick on the theatrical "Pastoral Noir" , it has a bluesy chug to it and a strange narrative, before you are placed under a spell by the dizzying Phillip Glass like cello work of " Unicorn Horn" this sung also has more of a narrative to it than sung vocals , but it works well against the more classical back drop. Her singing voice comes to forefront of "Bridget Manners". Showing she can hang with any other female singer going today.  The melody is more traditional pop than some of the more quirky vocal lines that she uses her voice to dance over the orchestrated backdrop. It's a masterfully written song that is compact and makes use of every second. She puts a chug to her bow on " Indian Weed" and captures the classic Rasputina sound. For the first time in the vocal arrangement I hear traces of a Joni Mitchell influence. The Title track is a mournful instrumental interlude.

More zany tales are narrated during "Emily Dickinson's Trophy Envelope". The cello work once again sets a darker classical tone even with a horror movie tension arising when the wizard poisons himself with his toxic collection at the four and a half minute mark. There more  of these mourning instrumental pieces  like "Steady Rain" and "Untitled" than I remember being scattered about their other albums  . "Psychopathic Logic" is tense and urgent as Creager lyrically sizes up  the mind of her stalker. "Sensed" is a balance of spoken word and singing to break up this story two lovers last day on earth, which is creepy enough to suggest it might also involve murder or making love to a ghost.
There is rambling freak folk jangle to "Taken Scary" that is a look at her frightening Internet experience, it's disjointed and honest enough to pull you in like classic Rasputina has the tendency to do. The albums closes out with the gracefully angelic instrumental "Hymn of the Wormwood Women" .  It floats things to the end like more of an coda or outro than a song that stands alone.

When she really has her songwriting keenly tuned when it comes to some of the less vaudevillian pieces, when the theatrics are set aside to focus  more on music and less on storytelling, generally over the years these have been my favorite moments from this " band" though I like when the are balance like the opening song. Overall its a fine return for Melora and friends. The songs are accessible enough to draw those not as familar in , but still retain the sound long time fans want so I'll give it a 10. Unless you find it otherwise this album is only available on cd and there are no bandcamping or sounds on clouds for it.

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