CD Review

My Scarlet Life - "Buzzbomb"

By Dan Century

BuzzbombBuzzbomb, 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 progression.

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 Trypnotica.

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.

Contact Information:
My Scarlet Life c/o DivaNation Records
5602 N. Ridge Section X
Chicago IL 60660

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