This Years Blonde

This Years Blonde

Blonde Bitch Goddess Music, 2004

REVIEW BY: Vish Iyer


If the question, "what is hip in contemporary music?" were to be asked, the answer would lie in going back to the past - retro. Retro has become the new fashion-statement in music-styles these days, with bands taking their sounds to as early a time as the sixties. So, to the list of new bands that feel "old is the way to go," here is another addition -- introducing This Years Blonde.

This Years Blonde is all '80s glam, complete with the audacity, et al. It is a one-man army of an American-European Kiki Du Parre. Though the new generation retro acts have got the music right, they have got the sartorial details all messed up - all of them look so good! Wasn't music till the '90s all about bad hairdos and silly costumes?

Kiki has got all the wrong 'glam' styles right: his hair makes him look like a llama on a bad hair day. He is seen wearing scary trinkets on his body, which is generously adorned with scarier tattoos, and his album-cover, with the terrible lip-image and the warning saying "Rock Erotic Inside," makes him look as stupid as the stupidest '80s glam hair-band. The album-cover does not look as sleazy as it looks silly, and the music isn't too erotically stimulating either. So, the whole concept of being shoddy is simply the 'glam' way of being cool.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

Like every '80s rock act with bad dressing sense and excellent music sense, This Years Blonde's music is all about catchy guitar hooks, appealing chorus, and great sense of melody. It sings what hair-bands used to sing about in the eighties -- love, sex and darkness -- with words that are as good as their hair.

Kiki, with his baritone voice, sounds like David Bowie in a five-piece glam-band, and the music, if not too flashy as glam-rock, is gothic -- it is eighties goth, in the year 2004. Unlike the 'Marilyn Manson' goth of today, which is more of plentiful noise and ruckus than actual music, This Years Blonde's music is well embellished with moody guitars -- and vocals to the effect that it doesn't have to scream its gut out to sound spooky. Kiki has a back-up female singer on most of the songs, giving an interesting blend to the texture of his eerily calm and composed vocals.

The '80s glam-scene was big on solos, and though not as shabby and haughty, This Years Blonde's solos are refined and less chaotic. "To The Night," a song bolstered with long and laid-back theatrical solos, has the guitars sounding all swirly and atmospheric. The same is with "Big Star," this time, with the guitar-hook that is redolent of the early Cure. However, "Turning Of The Page" is typically glam, with a quick riff and an energizing solo.

Though musically retro, the album too sounds like the early eighties, meaning even the 'sound' of the album, sounds from the age when U2 had still not become a household name. This however goes well with the music of the band, unless it tries to go too 'techno' as it does on "Violated," in which case, it starts sounding like a low-budget horror movie, where the ghosts look more funny than horrifying. Also, Kiki's attempts to mix his baritone vocals with his higher-pitched singing on songs like "I'm Doing Well" and "Love Screams" suffers due to overly-done ambiguity in vocals v/s poor sound-mixing. But the rest of the record is haunting and catchy, so all is forgiven.

Though unknown, This Years Blonde is a necessary addition to today's bands that are becoming intelligent by going stupid. This Years Blonde's melody-driven goth-rock proves that bands like Sisters Of Mercy and artists like Billy Idol made as much useful contribution to the eighties sound, as Culture Club or Duran Duran have, by being big influences on the talented young bands of today that are reliving the wonderful 80s where music was all music, and looks didn't matter.

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Rating: B+

User Rating: Not Yet Rated



© 2004 Vish Iyer and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Blonde Bitch Goddess Music, and is used for informational purposes only.