Violet Indiana

Russian Doll

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Violet Indiana appeared to be on hold in 2003, when Robin Guthrie released his first proper solo album. A year later, Guthrie returns with Siobhan de Maré for the duo's second proper album, which trails their singles compilation Casino by a couple years. More so than ever, they appear to be priming themselves for the time when Angelo Badalamenti retires from scoring David Lynch films. (To make this point further evident, "Quelque Jour" is apparently directly inspired by a scene from Blue Velvet.) If Lynch should ever direct a movie based on obsessive romantic relationships that just happens to be set in 1996 or so, he can license the whole of this album and be done with it. This is a compliment and a criticism at the same time -- the positive being that Violet Indiana's music is good enough for use in a film made by a magnificent director, the negative being that the album's mid-'90s feel makes it seem as if it were made well before the duo's first recordings. So it does seem like a step backward for them, and it doesn't help that there aren't as many memorable songs here as there are on the debut. The duo is still wholly capable of concocting a simmering, slightly sleazy form of dream pop noir, and not many other groups would be able to do such a thing if they tried. When mid-'90s nostalgia takes hold in roughly ten years or so, Russian Doll might be considered a decade ahead of the revival game. Until then, there's only need for longtime converts to pick it up -- either Roulette or Casino will be enough for everyone else.

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