June 3, 2010

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Rasputina, Sister Kinderhook
Filthy Bonnet Records, May 15
Normal people — that would be you — take Rasputina leader Melora Creager as one seriously unstable chick, wearing her corsets and puffy stuff, playing heavy metal cello and generally making like the Nightmare Before Christmas-obsessed black sheep sister of the same wacko family that spawned Tori Amos and Ani DiFranco. In her endless quest to sell no albums except to ren-fair/sci-fi outcasts, she hits one into the cheap seats with this one, the lyrical themes of which apparently sprang from a lot of obsessive reading to her smelly teddy bear about America in the early 1800s and how weird it was (they actually believed giants had once existed, you know, but had long ago mutually destructed through war, and so we now have a song about all that, cheekily titled “Holocaust of Giants”). Creager’s snotty-bratty voice is an acquired taste, with an untrained vibrato that sounds like she’s being jiggled by someone trying to shake some of the fruit-bat-crazy out of her, and what you ultimately get out of this, aside from the wayback-machine lyricism, is a mix of Deadwood-soundtrack banjo, glowering cello riffs, and a lot of unique poofy-bubbly orchestral whimsy that could have come straight out of the synchronized swimming finale of an Esther Williams movie (Wiki says Esther Williams is actually still alive, you know). Man, would my job suck without artists like this. BEric W. Saeger