Blonde Redhead’s Penny Sparkle Shines

End of day
We watched the sun go down
I can see you’re like a firework
You want to save me

—From “Here Sometimes”

For their eighth record, Penny Sparkle, New York-based experimental pop trio Blonde Redhead traveled to Stockholm to work with producers Van Rivers and the Subliminal Kid. Like 2007’s 23, Penny Sparkle was mixed by the legendary Alan Moulder (Depeche Mode, Smashing Pumpkins, Nine Inch Nails) but their latest effort is more drum machine and synth-heavy. While nixing organic instruments for electronic gives some tracks more of a slick, icy feel (“Love or Prison,” “Penny Sparkle”) Kazu Makino’s evocative voice, and some smart use of synths, create an overall dreamy atmosphere.

Italian twin brothers Amedeo and Simone Pace experiment with new arrangements and moods on songs like the eerie “Will There Be Stars,” which has a Flaming Lips’ Embryonic vibe, and the compelling “Black Guitar,” where Amedeo and Makino expertly alternate vocals (“So long as your eyes follow mine/ Then mine will follow you”). Leadoff track “Here Sometimes” has a typically wistful air, while the understated “My Plants Are Dead” is reminiscent of the early Cure.

BR begins touring in October, and you can catch them on November 3rd at Webster Hall in Manhattan. For more info:

lisa heffernan

Lisa Heffernan received a master’s in Communications from Emerson College before moving to New York. She has worked for publications such as: Details, Nylon, Rolling Stone, Time Out, Newport Mercury, American Songwriter and W magazine.