October 11, 2010, 6:45 pm
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Art police wanker on patrol: foot notes and brain squiggles from overblown BRH review(pedantry, purple self-indulgence and over-analysation).

Ever tried to watch a film when people are talking – not whispering -talking . You’re thinking ‘can’t they at least whisper?’ and you consider saying something politely, or if the trailers are over and you’re missing vital plot points maybe a loud ‘shut the fuck up’ to triumphant applause from the audience, the girl with the torch, Scarlette Johasson who weirdly is there too and fancies you, and the projector guy. Then again, there’s definitely a man’s voice in there. What if he’s big? So now you’re having sublimely ridiculous fantasies about ducking his punch before propelling him an improbable 25 foot through plate glass, followed with a pay-off quip worthy of Tarantino-esque savoir faire and…. shit your missing the cool motorbike bit and what’s the significance of the ‘totem’, again? Well, that’s what it’s like listening to Penny Sparkle. in the foreground. The songs BRH wrote in isolated New York countryside are pleasing, the industrial fairytale post-punk production in the Bjork/ Fever Ray vein tacked onto Penny Sparkle in Stockholm? That’s those people talking, when all you want to do is appreciate the cinematic beauty. Its just nags at you before you finally have to say something.

They’ve abandoned the retro terrain of gauze and lace on 23 for the open arms of don-of-modern-anguish, producer Alan Moulder and reduction duo Van Rivers and The Subliminal Kid, obviously shy of a doomed chanteuse between producing Fever Ray albums and remixes Bat For Lashes. The pillowy synth-pop, recorded between New York and Sweden, attempts to ingest come of Stockholm’s gothic legacy and sterile geometry.

At points Misery compared to tip-toeing the floorboards of a vast victorian jewellery box, with Makino the doomed miniature ballerina spinning at the centre. It felt like standing in the dust and quiet of your dead grandmother’s neatly arranged bedroom, carefully fingering hand-painted ivory broaches, untangling hair from mother of pearl vanity. This time, though, their tendency towards mimicry and wan acquisition has stepped on one artistic pinky-toe too many.

sober and sombre, ‘authenticity’ people say, it gives legitimacy and dignity to the misery of silhouetted misery guts everywhere, passion and glamour to mundane chronic discontent. The paranoiac-insomniac reverie brh aspire to. imprisoning certitude., Scandi primitivism and nature worship, the throat-catching freudian terror of Nordic bedtime stories.

This review, oh shit. I drafted four conclusions and identified 19 variations of the word ‘disquieting’. I’ve watched The Moomins,, listened to Bjork talk about The Moomins, made a moomin out of paper and wrote an analogy for Blonde Redhead’s new album as like having a fight with people in the cinema, but with moomins.

Unfortunately Mikino’s vocal dominates Penny Sparkle, which could just as easily have been her solo outing. It’s telling she spent a portion of her time away from the brothers Pace, in Stockholm with the producers. contributes to a spirit of tastefulness, which in music is the anti-despair. Horror is a hard thing to nail, especially the impish, absurdist kind first rendered by The Residents forties years ago and perfected by The Knife. In different circumstances Kazu Mikono’s vocals are their strong play. Karin Dreijer Andersson’s fascination with voice-changers makes more sense in SHARP relief.

As gorgeous as it can get on there at times, Penny Sparkle is DREARY. Palish grey as opposed to the chiaroscuro purity conjured by their fore-bearers, a stock and sometimes odiously crass approximation of some of the most important music in millennial Europe. The sterile romance amidst atrophic mundanity.

Moomins: creepy little albino Casper the-friendly-ghost-lookin’ hippo incubus.
And to think that for around ten years Eighties kids were subjected to the paper-cut animation, after-school nightmare fodder that is The Moomins, a parable warning against Atomic age self-destruction. Hardly Biker Mice From Mars, is it? That the Danes for you.
Right up there with chocky, rentaghost and the plain fucked-up moondial, to the danes the Moomins its mickey mouse, o everyone else its an open door with two eyes watching from the gloom. (the driving plot to 2010’s 3d film is an impending apocalypse). Sorry mickey, shit just got real. The steamboat is killing her world, the sub prime bubble has burst and god will return to destroy his wayward children, they’re be fewer plants.

the captain..

One thousand stories and there’s always more
We’ve been offered one more lap to go
In my hand I hold a key
It’s dear to me ’cause I know where it leads

Penny Sparkle is a trite and sometimes eye-roll inducing gauche approximation of some of the most important music in millenial Europe.


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