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Non-Prog CD Reviews

Concrete Blonde


Review by Gary Hill

This album is a very nice work, featuring many musical themes and textures. Although not all of the album`s lyrics fit the Halloween mode, the title track is firmly rooted there, and much of the music has tones that work well. Concrete Blonde (Johnette Napolitano, James Mankey, and Paul Thompson) are augmented by several side musicians on this album.

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Track by Track Review
Bloodletting (The Vampire Song)
Featuring a gradual, bluesy buildup, this song has a wonderful texture and really sets a tone for the album. "There`s a crack in the mirror, and a blood stain on the bed, o` you were a vampire and baby, I`m walking dead."
The Sky Is A Poisonous Garden
This is a fast-paced and somewhat frantic rocker with night themes in the lyrics. "The moon is full-the stars are bright and the sky is a poisonous garden tonight."
Caroline has the feel of a pop song, and quite a strong one at that. The overall effect is somewhat reminiscent of The Pretenders at times.
Darkening of the Light
"When the clouds pull apart, and the moon changes faces, in the quiet secret places, are you there? Are you there?" Slightly dark and progish, this number contains some very creative vocal arrangements.
I Don't Need A Hero
A bare-bones percussion and vocals arrangement makes up the first verse here. In fact, the entire song is based on a rather stripped down arrangement. That said, the guitar work to the piece contains some very nice sections based on harmonics. The title pretty well tells the theme to the lyrics, the story of a strong woman who does not need a hero.
Days & Days
Again featuring a rather Pretendersish leaning, this one contains an interesting bass line and a fast tempo. This song really grooves along, and the arrangement is quite creative.
The Beast
"Love is a vampire, drunk on your blood, love is the beast that will, tear out your heart." Another up-tempo piece, the vocal work is quite strong. The number is metallic, but not metal.
Another pop/rock oriented tune, this is a considerably strong piece, and has a less dark texture than the rest of the album.
A strong rock song, Joey contains very emotional vocal work and a tasteful guitar solo.
Tomorrow, Wendy
"They say, goodbye, tomorrow Wendy`s going to die." This is another somewhat moody track, but it is quite powerful. Although this track is my favorite on the album, anyone offended by anti-Christian lyrics should steer clear of it.
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