Blonde Redhead Are Inquisitive and Inviting on 'Sit Down for Dinner'

BY Dylan BarnabePublished Sep 27, 2023

Blonde Redhead invite you to share a meal on Sit Down for Dinner. Kazu Makino and twin brothers Amedeo and Simone Pace return with the band's first new music in nine years, partly inspired by Joan Didion's The Year of Magical Thinking. The memoir, which Makino read in spring 2020, meditates on the sudden loss of Didion's husband, who died of a heart attack as the couple was sitting down to dinner. While this might conjure images of the macabre, Makino, Amedeo and Simone sought to draw upon the sacred rite of togetherness cultivated through the act of sharing a meal. Written over a period of five years, Sit Down for Dinner is — if nothing else — an album that doesn't weigh itself down with the deluge of death but delights in the exploration of life's many questions. 

Formed in 1993, Blonde Redhead have been a staple of the alternative rock scene for decades, delighting fans and critics alike with their otherworldly melodies and creative compositions. Sit Down for Dinner proves the band is as compelling as ever, circling in and out of each other's vocals and rhythms with ease. "Snowman" catapults you right into the action, as Amedeo sets the tone and Simone, as always, has his ear to the ground in creating beautiful, complementary percussive elements. It deploys elements of Brazilian music and is a joyful reminder that the band remains in a constant state of experimentation.

In the past, Makino has described her songwriting process as agonizing and painful, but Sit Down for Dinner finds her changing her approach. "I wanted to put my foot down and say: we can have a nice time together. The record sounds quite optimistic," she said in press materials. While canon Blonde Redhead does sometimes feel as though there's an omnipresent being lurking in the shadows, Sit Down for Dinner is decidedly more relaxed. The band is a little older, a little wiser, a little more mellow.  

The playful, inquisitive nature of the trio really comes to the fore as Makino and Amedeo pose questions and scratch their chins at the cosmos: "Is that how you felt alone?" Makino asks on "Sit Down for Dinner, Pt. 1"; "How would you feel if I kept you secret?" on "Melody Experiment"; "Do you ever know what kind of love calls?" on "Snowman." The album is filled with moments that capture the full spectrum of certainty to indecision, constancy to instability and of being lost and feeling found. "If" is a perfect example of this push-pull dynamic, as Amedeo delivers a manifesto on the nature of modern existentialism: "And I am seeing for myself / This life I chose to choose."

Sit Down for Dinner feels like a homecoming nine years in the making. To quote both Didion and "Sit Down for Dinner Pt. 2," "You sit down to dinner and life as you know it ends." Here's to many more meals and more music until then. 
(section1 Records)

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