Simmering with the zest/grit of pre-Giuliani Manhattan, Blonde Redhead’s long out-of-print early recordings have finally crawled their way out of a 90s basement like a butterfly tattering through its cocoon. Masculine/ Feminine brings 37 tracks of this glorious band that birthed synthetic-pop raves by bringing a cinematic noir feel to pop’s playful rhythms. Trust me when I say, you cannot go wrong with this two disc set that shows the mischievous of music.
Blonde Redhead are music innovators that have long prevailed in the industry because they prove creativity can burgeon business. Their following is fiercely loyal because Blonde Redhead is fearless in its capacity to break musical boundaries. There is no boxing this band in, and as you journey from the Masculine disc to the Feminine one you realize that. From the dark-rock riffs in “Violent Life” to the intergalactic lullaby that is “Jet Star”, there is so much happening in this two disc set that it is hard to point out its singular sound, which is why, I not only love this release, I respect it.
I admire Masculine/ Feminine for several reasons. For one, this compilation of Blonde Redhead’s early work and unreleased demos is infused with the youthful, hard edge that would make them world renown. You cannot help but feel as if you have traveled back in time to meet this more than two decade spanning band before they “made” it. You can envision them in a Manhattan basement playing, practicing, and trying to perfect the noise- rock, dream pop sound that would stir favor with audiences whom enjoyed the sweet chaos they musically brewed. Sweet chaos is a perfect term to describe the parodoxical effect of Blonde Redhead and this compilation album. Blonde Redhead’s Masculine/ Feminine feels like a tall glass of sweet tea laced with acid; it cools you down only to ignite you up again.
From psychotropic to psychedelic, Masculine/ Feminine will ignite the abstract thinking that inspired the band itself. It is a two disc record made for those that like music to have surprising curves within its compositions. Songs like “Vague” and “Down Under” go from loud to soft as singers Kazu Makino and Amedeo Pace sound like maddening youth struggling to free themselves from life’s straight jacket. They lull and yell their lyrics in an attempt to sing their way out of their angst. Listeners will think they have been engorged by the cool turmoil this band evokes throughout 37 tracks. Frankly, it is fascinating to hear them musically encompass frustration, and show that despite gender divisions, Masculine/ Feminine, there is only one, true division in a society: light and darkness.
If you think that one side will sound more “dainty” than the other… YOU ARE WRONG. Masculine/ Feminine is not a musical title symbolic of gender divisions. Instead, it is a title that emblems the passive and aggressive energies that course through everyone: no matter what gender. Throughout the two discs, you will hear a batch of New York youths feel torn apart by their seething ambitions that light a fire within them that could spark in the night but combust by morning. That intense, spiritual friction is magnified by electric guitar riffs that could make you wonder whether an instrument bleeds or cries. I cannot believe the present. youthful relevance of Masculine/ Feminine despite it being a compilation of their 90’s period singles, extant demos, and radio performances. The record proves that being young is a timeless, woeful, and whimsical endeavor for all.
There are no favorite tracks for the two disc set because Masculine/ Feminine is to be completely experienced. It is the elaborate opus of both Blonde Redhead as a band and disparaging youth as a constant culture that goes beyond generational to spiritual. Personally, when I buy a record or follow an artist, I want to feel as if they are “one of a kind”. It is their uniqueness in music that will inspire me to find my uniqueness in being, which Blonde Redhead does in this two disc set. Masculine/ Feminine has so much imagination brewing within its rhythms that you will think it is the topographical map of a musician’s brain. For more information of Blonde Redhead and to Buy Masculine/ Feminine on September 30 Click Here.