Johanna's House of Glamour

Style Monsters

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C'est La Mort down South has been bringing its non-rushed, hushed, lush pop music for several years, and this Newport, RI, trio is consistent with that valiant ethic. The group should tour sometime with Spoonfed Hybrid and Breathless: the sinewy, striking cover of Robert Wyatt's "Sea Song" will be the first thing to catch listeners' attention, but the 14 originals are equally mysterious and beguiling. Laura Darrow's vocals seem pulled out of her by forceps, not far away from some of the chamber work turned in by the singers for 4AD's This Mortal Coil project, although Darrow also yelps and gasps in a pained manner when the mood strikes her. Gorgeous stuff such as "Industrial Beach" draws one in to a trance-like groove and tapestry, much like the late-'80s Downy Mildew. And "Incognito," which features Newport neighbor, ex-Throwing Muses, and ex-Belly bassist Fred Abong on guest bass, utilizes a shattered guitar feedback and strange bits of sounds to lead into a gently disturbing chorus. This is really fine music with no eye to the radio, the alterna-scene, the public, nada, just ambitious art and darting sound.

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