Blonde Redhead

Misery Is a Butterfly

An ill-fitting relationship with Touch and Go Records now behind them, Blonde Redhead can state, with the release of Misery Is a Butterfly, its full intentions to interpret Sonic Youth through pop music. Oh yeah, the band wants to do that on a concept album, if you please. Between 2000’s masterful Melody of Certain Damaged Lemons and this latest release, something bad happened in the Blonde Redhead universe. Evidence can be found in the fact that the band thanks three doctors in the liner notes, and that this fairly prolific group took four years to produce Misery. But a better source is the lyrics, which tell the tale of a haunted life. “Remember when we found misery?” asks Kazu Makino on the album’s title track, “We watched her spread her wings and slowly fly around our room.” The seductive pull of misery is in fact the central “character” on the album, and the reflective lyrics are part of Blonde Redhead’s best performance ever put to tape. The music is supple and surprising: Check out that disco bass line on “Equus” or the key change on “Maddening Cloud.” It’s an amazing release from one of the planet’s best bands.