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Thursday, January 31, 2008

Rebecca Blasband - Rapt

Name: Rebecca Blasband
Album: Rapt
Year: 1997
Style: Alternative Rock
Similar Bands: Mazzy Star, Belly, PJ Harvey, Jennifer Trynin, Pretenders
"One-Word" Review: Angsty-Girl-Rock
Based Out Of: New Hope, PA
Label: Mercury Records
Rapt Cover
Rapt Inside
Rapt CD & Tray Image
Rapt Back

Rapt (1997)
  1. Silver Room (4:10) 
  2. Down in the Underground (3:40) 
  3. Sugar (3:35) 
  4. 6 ft Off the Ground (2:50) 
  5. Alfred (3:10) 
  6. Mr. Sunshine (4:40) 
  7. Chill (4:50) 
  8. Skinny Minnie (3:00) 
  9. Everything That Rises Must Converge (3:48) 
  10. If I Know You (4:10) 
  11. Cowgirl Hero (3:35) 
  12. Titanic (4:00) 
Album Rating (1-10):6.0

Members & Other Bands:
Rebeca Blasband - Vox, Acoustic Guitar, Hammond B3, Mandolin
Gordan Gano - Elec. Guitar, Fiddle (Violent Femmes)
Lonnie Hillyer - Bass (Love Spit Love, Maggie's Dream)
Frank Ferrer - Drums (Psychedelic Furs, Love Spit Love, 2006 G n' R)
Melora Creager - Cello (Rasputina, Travelling Ladies' Cello Society)
Warren A. Bruleigh - Producer, Mixer
Martin Brass - Engineer
Tony Phillips - Mixer
Mark Mason - Recording Asst.
Jim Laninski - Mixer Asst.
Alan Yoshida 0 Master
Nicolai Levashov - Psychotronic Structuralization
Louis Marino - Art Direction, Photo Illustration
Judson Baker - Photography

Unknown-ness: A used CD purchase at least 10 years ago, I believe I bought this because Gordon Gano performs on it. Violent Femmes were my favorite band in H.S. and I must have wanted anything he had a connection to. I don't know if I ever listened to the CD though, as I cannot remember what it sounds like. It looks like a PJ Harvey stylized record, so I'm expecting gloomy vocals and moody music. Or perhaps moody vocals and gloomy music. Either way, this idea stems from the black & white dark photography, from the sweaty dirty look of Rebecca, and the alternative style of the band photo. The songs are not that long, and there is a lot of energy in the CD tray image and some of the other images, so perhaps there is more life to this than I first imagined.

Album Review: Not having listened to this in a while, I'm just going to start with the review-while I listen to the album. "Silver Room" leads off with an acoustic guitar and Rebecca's voice distant through telephone sounding distortion. The song is light and airy, with a small touch of country in its production. The chorus is very catchy and joyful. The next song starts out rocking. The verse is sang/spoken over the quick, rocking musical melody, similar to, but not exactly like PJ Harvey. This song wants to be punk. But a slide-guitar is added in the instrumental breakdown, which gives it an alt-country feel. Slow, dark and alternative are styles Alice N Chains combines nicely, and the third track, "Sugar" has all of those qualities. The gothic melody that accompanies the vocalization of the word 'sugar' adds to the darkness of the track. As do the string section and distortion of the vocals. This is mid-late 90's alternative. The next track "6 ft" is a more upbeat song, similar to Indigo Girls or more accurately, the Pretenders. "Alfred" is a slow start/stop groove. She sounds like a deeper Aimee Mann on this track. The song ends with a very dark tone. And although the next song is called "Mr. Sunshine" the bass line makes this song dark. The hard rock guitars come on strong during the chorus, bringing along the lead guitar which is upbeat and bright. The music builds to a high energetic point toward the end with the chorus of 'here comes Mr. Sunshine' repeated through a mega-phone, and the song fades out.

"Chill" is just that; slow, laid back, and calm. The song builds upon itself, becoming more complex with suppressed backing vocals, and a quicker pace from the drums and guitars. PJ Harvey sounds to be a big influence over the next track "Skinny Minnie." Gliding lead guitars, megaphone distorted vocals, not quite sung, and a powerful alternative, somewhat psychedelic, tempo all define this song. The next song is a light cloud-walk through dreams. Its slow folky style and stoner relaxation make me think of Milla Jovovich singing and playing guitar in Dazed and Confused. The next rock song picks up the pace again. "If I Know You" is a classic rock song, again sounds like the Pretenders. Slower, and with a slide guitar, "Cowgirl Hero" is another folky campfire song, creating imagery to match a cowgirl theme. It has a swaying, drinking song quality to it, but the drums and guitars are louder and stronger than they need to be. The final song, "Titanic" begins quiet, but rages into a tempo change and rocks out, before it jumps a half speed slower for a great style change, and it goes back to the beginning's slow beat. But it changes rapidly back to the stomp-power in the chorus. This is a constantly changing and evolving song, switching between three or four speeds, blending some of them, and acting unexpectedly.

Over-all, this is a nice blend of PJ Harvey with The Pretenders. She has a strong, attention grabbing voice that is displayed very nicely in different forms and capacities through out the album. The music is rooted in alternative production and style, but it is not quite as dated as many other records from that time tend to be. It is relevant and listenable today.

Stand Out Track:Silver Room

Links:
Blasband - Allmusic
Blasband - Myspace
Blasband - Wikipedia / Real World page
Blasband article - Westword
Blasband - IMDB page
Becky Falls Into Troubled Love - synopsis
Real World fan site

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