There are some feelings in life that you simply can't beat. I'm not talking here about the grand feelings of joy or euphoria that come with such landmark events like having your first child, no I mean the kind of everyday, low key moments that produce an indiscribable feeling of utter satisfaction. Like the first sip of an ice cold beer after work on a hot summers evening, or sliding your foot into brand new socks, or finding a forgotten favorite album for £2 in a second hand record store, or putting on an album by Blonde Redhead who seem to be able to produce moments such as these with blissful ease.
Ever since 2004's Misery Is A Butterfly my heart has been in love with this band. There is something about Kazu Makino's sweet soprano vocals that make me sigh with delight. They ache with sadness yet float with effortless grace over the claustrophobic wall of sound that underlie them. She has the ability to gently take your heart by the hand and carry it away on the most perfect of melodies. Misery Is A Butterfly was the first album where this quality was brought to the forefront, moving away from the bitter squall of their Sonic Youth inspired sound of previous albums and now with 23 the change is well and truly complete.
The title track chimes in with an eery emptiness that is then discarded as you are pulled close and smothered by sound. The first glimpses of Makino's voice sees the spell cast once again and the love affair re-ignited. The voice is more energetic here and though it will always contain the traces of melancholy that make it so addictive it's more soaring and wonderful than ever on these first two opening tracks. With The Dress things open up a little and as the music is stripped down we get more space to look around and really appreciate the delicate nuances of this band. As usual vocal duties are shared between Makino and Amedeo Pace who's contributions bring valuable muscle to the proceedings with songs like SW and Spring And Summer Fall.
It's hard to talk in depth about these songs for fear of breaking the spell. Blonde Redhead's music is hypnotic, rapturous and holds within it a kind of mystical wonder that is almost impossible to pin down. They make beautiful pop songs but there seems to be something more, something special that once it has touched you you feel privileged. So with this new album my heart is once again buoyant.