Gilded, accessible sixth album from avant-rock stalwarts
In the past, the exotic line-up of Blonde Redhead?identical Italian twins and a Japanese woman long embedded in New York boho-dom?has drawn more attention than their frequently tremendous music. While earlier albums were dominated by an understandable love of Sonic Youth, Misery Is A Butterfly is a daintier beast. Much of the jaggedness and screech has gone, with a baroque aestheticism now dominant, somewhere between Serge Gainsbourg and the Cocteau Twins. It works, mainly: though one or two songs could benefit from more of the old viciousness, these are seductive confections, all blurred strings, magical chimes and tear-stained metaphysics. Finally, it seems, 4AD have found a band who can convincingly update the filigree and shadow of their ’80s heyday.