Blonde Redhead Misery Is A Butterfly

Blonde Redhead Misery Is A Butterfly
Theirs has been a natural evolution over six records, but the Blonde Redhead of Misery Is A Butterfly bears little resemblance to the no wave edge that garnered them so many Sonic Youth comparisons in their early days. Having burnished the sharp turns into emotionally rich explorations, Misery strikes a perfect balance between the high pitched call of guitarist Kazu Makino and nasal offerings from guitarist Amedeo Pace (whose twin brother Simone handles drums). The combination is a distinctly cosmopolitan sound whose arrangements — at once rich and spare — are fleshed out by string sounds, keyboards and unusual percussion while still maintaining a propulsive forward momentum. The transformative imagery of the title is appropriate for a band that’s evolved from urgent post-punk into a outfit of delicate beauty. But while this makes them seem like fragile artistes, the urgency of songs like Amedeo’s "Maddening Cloud” or Kazu’s "Equus” prove that Blonde Redhead can still bring the rock that the trio was known for in its earliest incarnation. With two songwriters with such distinct voices both vocally and lyrically, Blonde Redhead could seem like a schizophrenic two-headed art rock monster, but Misery Is A Butterfly maintains the balancing act they perfected on their last album, 2000’s Melody of Certain Damaged Lemons. They continue to evolve into a band that, like the Flaming Lips (similar in transformation if not sound), gets better each time out.

Why has it taken so long between records? Kazu Makino: We’ve made five albums already; we didn’t feel like we needed to rush into the sixth one. It takes longer to feel like we’re doing something that’s really interesting to us — to feel fresh about our music.

What comes first, lyrics or music? Definitely music — the emotions are built into the music. It sounds like certain situations or certain feelings; perhaps I’m simply reading things into each song, but that’s how I anticipate the lyrics. The songs ask for certain lyrics. It’s easier that way too. You let your imagination develop through the notes and harmonies.

I’m curious about your experience being with twins in a band. I have nothing to compare it to. I hear every band has a different set of difficulties that are quite similar. I don’t know if I particularly have a strong experience because of the twins or if it’s just difficult to be in a band with other people.

Is it difficult? Yeah. We’re always together, all the time. That can be exhausting. When we don’t agree on things, it can be quite painful. But what can you do? It just works, musically. It’s the price you pay. Wow, that sounds really pessimistic. It’s amazing, because no matter what problems you have, you get on stage and you know it works. It’s almost shocking that it works.

What’s your favourite part of being in the band? The moment when you don’t think about anything else but what you’re doing, those are the best moments. When I feel like nothing is distracting us. (4AD)