This Years Blonde-This Years Blonde
By Marcus Pan
Kiki Du Parre, aka This Years Blonde, takes
a very simplistic tack on his self-titled debut. I can easily draw comparisons
to 4/4 dark rock artists like Blue(1) or Jesus & Mary Chain when listening
to his work. Released by Blonde Bitch Goddess Music, This Years Blonde
is a garage-level rock CD that keeps it light, simple and relies on an
interesting character that fronts the music just as much as the music itself.
While I read his press kit I'm wondering if Kiki and Blue
were brothers separated at birth. In addition to the music of This Years
Blonde, he's also responsible for films, art and other eclectic endeavors.
Previous music credits include fronting for LA punk acts Baby Jane, The Flesh
Toys and Amphetamine Blue as well as the Wave Bros. Band who performed surf
rock style music, which is what leads us to the next paragraph about track one,
I'm Doing Well.
The CD opens with I'm Doing Well, and a video of this
song is included on a data portion of the CD. I had watched the video prior,
and it's tongue 'n cheek, cheezy yet snazzy. This song immediately reminded me
of Vampire Beach Babes, so I was expecting surf-goth from open to close on the
music portion of the CD. And while it remains similarly rock oriented, This
Years Blonde is certainly not a surf punk release even if it takes some
influence from the genre.
To the Night is a light yet darkly
played tune about a castle-backdropped rescuing-the-maiden story. Lyrics
throughout the album are poetic, but not overly high brow. Somewhat banal at
times, occasionally having that 12-year-old-kiddie-goth flavor to them; but
this isn't too overdone and doesn't come out too seriously childish. And the
instrumentation is similarly simple as well, with a very low amount of polish
to give you that indie/emo feel. The CD closes with a vocal remix version of
this track as well, done acoustically, and I rather enjoyed this version as
well for its haunting quality.
The fifth track on the album is Violated and has
risen as high as #8 on alternative charts at the now defunct MP3.Com site.
Strangely enough, I could have easily done without this overly artsy, simple
and ineffectual track on This Years Blonde. It is however followed by a
highlight of the CD. Drowned is a heavier, near-metal rock track with
straightforward guitar work and lyrics about a girl in black. Very fine work
here and I'll even forgive the too-long and too-simple drum breakdown as it
gets saved by a strumming bass.
The rest of This Years Blonde continues similarly
straight rock, sometimes good sometimes forgetful, always dark. And
Kiki's instrument work, especially guitar and bass, are above par. Percussion
is a bit boring. Maybe all This Years Blonde needs is a little bit of maturity
to come into their sound and forge a niche where he can rest comfortably with
other dark rock acts of yesterday and today. But while I can't say anything
seriously bad about This Years Blonde, I can't say anything seriously great
either they kind of hover there.
(1) A savant of sorts. See our
interview with him in Legends
Post: 193 B Magnolia St., Costa Mesa, CA, 92627-2823, USA
Phone: (949) 645-1565