In part an extension of Black Tape's previous album As One Aflame, Laid Bare by Desire, thanks to the continued inspiration of Marcel Duchamp, the excellent and captivating The Scavenger Bride is the first record by Sam Rosenthal and company explicitly conceived and performed as a uniform piece. It's a concept album, though without the baggage that such a term normally brings, thanks to the varied performances throughout the record tied into the overall Black Tape aesthetic. Noted Czech author Franz Kafka is perhaps the key source for The Scavenger Bride's tale of a woman and her past lovers, while everyone from actor Klaus Kinski to Sonic Youth also provides some of the artistic focus for Rosenthal. Indeed, one of the highlights is "Shadow of a Doubt," one of Sonic Youth's finest early numbers, its breathless, nerve-tingling energy beautifully translated into a combination of piano, drums, viola and vocals, the last two delivered with dramatic panache by new member Elysabeth Grant. The core band of five this time features Rosenthal and returning members Feuer and Richards on flute and violin respectively, rounded out by cellist Julia Kent and Grant - interestingly, long time vocalist Oscar Herrera doesn't feature once on the record. With the drowned, cascading wash of sound familiar from Black Tape in general achieving a new strength on songs like "The Scavenger's Daughter" and "Das Liselottenbett," the band is further assisted by a slew of fellow Projekt artists and similarly minded souls. Michael Lairdt from Unto Ashes adds dashes of medieval dance turns via percussion and mandolin throughout - check out the entrancing "All My Lovers," also featuring Audra's Bret Helm backing Laird on vocals - while Steve Roach, Athan Maroulis from Spahn Ranch, Martin Bowes from Attrition and Christopher David from Judith further add to the album's serenely mysterious flow. Keep an ear out for Helm's lead turn on "The Lie Which Refuses to Die," which uses seemingly mundane imagery in quite a striking fashion.
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AllMusic Review by Ned Raggett