Consumer Guide by Review Date: 2018-02-23
Laurie Anderson & Kronos Quartet: Landfall (Nonesuch, 2018) Audio version of string-quartet-driven multimedia meditation on loss and Hurricane Sandy stops at elegiac except when the artist uses her words ("All the Extinct Animals," "The Water Rises") ***
Fever Ray: Plunge (Mute, 2017) Karin Dreijer's solo debut was about money when you listened up. This long-aborning follow-up is about sex. The tentative openers "Wanna Sip" and "Mustn't Hurry" end up where she and you had hoped before concerns about unsafe spaces and fraught hookups culminate with the free-abortion-on-demand "This Country": "This country"--and she means Sweden!--"makes it hard to fuck." Yet strangely or maybe not, that attack of nerves is the turning point. Immediately the title instrumental leads directly to "I want to run my fingers up your pussy" and an open if complicated beyond. Take the plunge, she's hinting. It'll be fine. You'll be glad you did. A-
Kissey: Unplug the Delusional Monkey (Fool's Gold EP, 2017) If you think it's several decades too late for sexy trip-hop, very blonde Swedish coo-coo bird has a modeling career she'd like to get underway ("Kiss the Ground," "Delusional") *
Shopping: The Official Body (Fat Cat, 2018) This theoretical dance trio are such miniaturists it may take their admirers a play or three to notice that on their third and I guess best album the music has broadened. The catchy treble guitar riff at the start of the 2:38 "Suddenly Gone" is partner to the virtual guiro somebody coaxed from a computer at the end--both are the kind of surprise that's good for a tiny thrill when you're out on the floor listening with your body. But no matter how well-honed they are, in this kind of miniaturism all distinctions are marginal--unlike classic Wire or Gang of Four, Shopping never risk a joke or break into something marginally anthemic. For them, "I know what I like and I like what I know" is still "never enough to satisfy me." Which does limit the use value to which they're theoretically committed. A-
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