Just a dull sheen
On Blonde Redhead’s eighth full-length, the formerly noisy NYC trio continues to slink along the moody, spacey path laid out by its previous three albums. This time, the band has recruited the duo Van Rivers & The Subliminal Kid (who’s produced Fever Ray and remixed Massive Attack and Bat for Lashes) and brought back Alan Moulder (My Bloody Valentine, Lush, Depeche Mode) to mix the album. If that laundry list of artists doesn’t hint at what to expect, just know that words like “sexy” and “ghostly” will be drastically overused in reviews of Penny Sparkle. These songs crawl— sometimes ominously, other times seductively—carried by understated beats, while Kazu Makino’s vocals float over it all like the memory of a departed loved one. A nicely composed mix, no doubt, and one that’s often gorgeous to boot, but Penny Sparkle mostly sounds like a band getting complacent with age.