Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Listening to: The Long Blondes, "Couples"

The crowd for the Long Blondes show at the Great American Music Hall this past Monday was decent sized, but far from the packed-to-the-rafters house I expected. How could this be, I ask, when they are such an obviously genius band? Perhaps it's because some critics, after a cursory listen (yes, Pitchfork, I'm looking at you), have dismissed their sophomore album Couples as a failed attempt at reinvention. But the fact is, despite a couple of forays into dark disco territory (which suit them quite well, actually), the material on Couples exhibits all of the wounded, fiercely literate wit, knife's edge songwriting, punkish drive and dissolute glamour of their debut. Indeed, both the title track and the single "Here Comes The Serious Bit" rank among their best. Live the band was no disappointment, either, though I got the sense that singer Kate Jackson and guitarist Dorian Cox generally have to work extra hard to compensate for the black hole-like anti-charisma of the rest of the band. Still, Jackson was in excellent voice, proving that the power and range you hear on the albums are no studio creation, and the band as a whole sounded fantastic. If you haven't already, by all means check them out.

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