My Scarlet Life - "Buzzbomb"
By Dan Century
Buzzbomb, the third album from
Chicago's My Scarlet Life, is everything their previous album, Trypnotica, was
and more. The overall sound of the album is decidedly more trip-hop, delving
less into "dream pop" and experimentation. MSL continue to explore exotic
instrumentation and melodies, this time with more confidence and integration.
The production is very clever, reminiscent of Garbage or Massive Attack. I'm
amazed by the variety of bizarre electronic and organic samples Preston used to
spice the mix. The guitars are funkier, more confident and higher up in the
mix. The sound of the vocals is quite unique...a very live, wet, in the same
room as you sound.
Lyrics, thoughts and images are pushed to the limit. Julie
and Christy rely as much on metaphor as they do on reality. Buzzbomb is
a very sexy album, with frank, erotic images -- Ruby Kisses is the most
graphic example. Julie's and Christy's vocals are still the reigning diva's of
pop, even if most of the world hasn't heard of them yet. You can bet their time
will come. You can't ignore great voices like these.
The first song, Heartache, is a real powerhouse.
Far-out sci-fi keyboard and percussion, ultra funky guitars lift and sexy,
heartbroken vocals mix to start off one hell of an album. I love the chord
Black Limbo begins with a delicious Arabic melody and
flows into a spoken word retelling of one of Julie's nightmares and ends in
almost Spice Girls like rap/chant (which I admit is a little scary). Julie's
vocals are particularly spooky and unexpected - taking you on a tour through
the "snake pit of hell." You'll feel like you were walking in an Egyptian
market and then fell into a dark, snake filled tomb and then...welcome to
Julie's nightmare. This song demonstrates well My Scarlet Life's ability to
take you "to another place."
Ruby Kisses is MSL's most frank and erotic song to
date. Christy's impassioned lyrics, the unexpected distorted guitars and
insanely inventive percussion. Lyrics sample: "she's going down, going down,
you don't know how long I've been waiting." Wow!
Cumulous is inevitably Kate Bush-like. The music is
almost ambient but these fantastic xylophone-like "Nightly News" sounding
keyboards. Where's My Lucky Star returns to more of the "dream pop" of
On Crushed Desire, the bridge and solo sounds like
the Cult circa Dreamtime and the rest is straight-up trip hop. Dark,
spooky, trip- hop like something from a scary video game. Very inventive.
Other World's more guitars reminiscent of old Cult (lots of flange)
combine with gorgeous vox and coyly sexual lyrics. Welcome to Julie's forest of
delight, and evil. My favorite song on the album - Julie's voice and the bands
music reality take's me to where Julie is at...wherever that is.
My Scarlet Life has the profound ability to take you to
another place: be that an Egyptian market, a spooky forest, Christy's boudoir
or Julie's worst snake filled nightmare. They don't just play a song, they
create a powerfully vivid atmosphere that surrounds your soul, body and mind -
if you're brave enough to let them. Let go and trip into their world (of course
with my luck, they'd ignore me, or jump me and take my stuff). Also, check out
their remix album Danse Amour for an entirely new takes on many of the
songs on this album.
My Scarlet Life c/o
5602 N. Ridge Section X
Chicago IL 60660
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