Sunday, July 08, 2007

Rasputina: Oh Perilous World

Having pre-ordered this album from the states some time ago I was very excited to find it on my doormat this weekend. And even more pleased that it lives up to all expectations.

Chances are, if you're in the U.K. you won't have heard Rasputina, although you may have heard a track of theirs that appeared in Buffy the Vampire Slayer. When I try to describe them to anyone, I struggle beyond "goth-pop cello band", which does them a great disservice, suggesting both a limited genre palette and a novelty element, neither of which is remotely true. Rather I should say that Rasputina mainstay Melora Creager has an idiosyncratic and singular vision, which she has pursued and refined through the course of five albums (plus an excellent solo mini-album last year).
Their last album, 2004's Frustration Plantation marked a breakthrough for these ears, with an expanded palette and refined songwriting producing Rasputina's most rounded work to date. Oh Perilous World builds on that fine album's sound world, as well as Melora's solo outing Perplexions last year. Many of the lyrics this time have been constructed using "found" sources, but the result seems to be pretty much the same as ever, namely oblique, mordant and witty. Rasputina offer a skewed, abstract take on the world around us that seems simultaneously to be entirely of its time and yet independent of any discernible trend. And in these days of identikit indie posers, that's something to be thankful for.

3 comments:

petemaskreplica said...

Addendum: Listening again, after "Crazy Rhythms" by the Feelies (which includes a cover of "Everybody's got something to hide except for me and my monkey") it occurs to me that you can probably draw a line between some of the Beatles' stuff (especially via George Martin's string arrangements) and Rasputina, and Melora and her merry band are certainly far more in the playful, experimental spirit of the Fabs than any number of plodding, conservative dad-rock combos. So stick that up your jumper, Oasis.

Jen said...

oh, yeah, this is them that did that transalvanian concubine song. i liked that, back in my buffy days...

petemaskreplica said...

yeah, that's them! Although they've moved on a lot since then, the sound's now a lot more swampy and raw.