Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Bitter? Sweet as sugar.

Hot damn, kids, few things are finer than drowning in anticipation for a new album -- six long years in this case if you count a soundtrack release, and I do -- having that album arrive and, most importantly, having that album more than satisfy said anticipation. The sultry-voiced Jill Tracy, last heard here, is back with her new long player, The Bittersweet Constrain, and it's as wonderfully dark and mischievous and mesmerizing as I had hoped, the perfect spell to make one forget, even if just for a moment, about superdelegates and crumbling ice shelves.

Her piano still dominates proceedings the way a lover dominates -- oops, that's another story for another time -- but her backing band, The Malcontent Orchestra, has upped the propulsive thrust of the musical backbone in comparison to her debut, Diabolical Streak, leaving the strings to accent the proceedings and bringing to the fore the cornucopia of percussion heard on Into the Land of Phantoms, the aforementioned instrumental soundtrack to F. W. Murnau's silent horror classic Nosferatu, thus luring the songs with an amorous kiss out of a turn-of-the-century cabaret and its table of forlorn green fairies and through the fog for a rendez-vous in a smoky, noirish jazz club caught in the dark cloak of a nearby hotel that's seen and heard everything under the moon.

The lyrics still spin twilight tales of spurned love, untimely ends and thoughts lost in the shadows, slowly creeping unseen and meaning to not merely embrace, but drag us down into those oh-so-wrong exalted states. Go on, wear the masque of shock at their devious plan, but do you really want to fight it? Thought not. I suppose that I could name some 'highlights' -- the hypnotic languor of lead track Haunted by the Thought of You, the sinister longing of Sell My Soul, the sordid delicacy of Room 19, the seductively sardonic Torture -- but I've always been an album guy, so sitting down with nary a weak track and sleepwalking in daydream through all sixty-one minutes is the only way to listen. What a bloody good record. I need a smoke.


pissed off patricia said...

Sounds like this music would go wonderfully with an ice cold martini, shaken, not stirred.

Dean Wormer said...

Hmmm, sounds like it might be worth picking up. Cool review.

Anonymous said...

Your music reviews are really good.

I want that hat and boa.

(There is no eloquent way to link together those two thoughts.)

Anonymous said...


Did you write music reviews for your college paper? Wow. That's some endorsement! Thanks for the tip man. I'll check it out.

Randal Graves said...

POP, you know, it really would.

dean, thanks, I think it's worth it, obviously!

fot, eloquent, smeloquent. Just make sure you have that getup for when you're in France.

spartacus, thanks for the kind words, and some, but man, that was aeons ago!

Liberality said...

I love saultry female musicians so I'll have to check her out.

Tengrain said...

I am not familliar with her, but I loved the Easter post you featured with her.

That was a great review - thanks for the tip!



M.Yu said...

I agree with the political burnout.

If we are going to take a "Taxi to the Dark Side," I want to be with her in the back seat.

Nice post,tnx

Randal Graves said...

liberality, I assure you, it'll be worth your cash. If not, no refunds!

tengrain, thanks!

m.yu, now that is an excellent title for a post, Taxi to the Dark Side. If only I had photoshop to plaster a picture of The Maverick® in a yellow cab.

La Belette Rouge said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
La Belette Rouge said...

I am intrigued--dark, sardonic and hypnotic. Just my cup of tea--bitter and sweet. And, I am with Colleen, I want the hat and the boa--and the cd.

Randal Graves said...

It's certainly all those things. I think you'd really dig her stuff.

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