5. In An Expression Of The Inexpressible (1998)

Blonde Redhead’s penchant for opening albums with immediacy is one of their trademarks and is most deftly displayed on this album. But not only is “Luv Machine” a sucker-punch of Makino’s urgent yelps and Simone’s whirlpool of percussion, it’s the perfect announcement that after three albums, mostly self-produced, the band was now delivering their take on Downtown NYC art- and noise-rock with a finer polish. A lot of that comes from enlisting Fugazi’s Guy Picciotto as producer (he would serve the same role on the next two albums, as well). Picciotto’s touch not only found the band testing new waters – carnival riffs on “10,” a benzo-addled take on classic rock with “Led Zep,” and chrome-finished revamp of their previous album’s closer “Futurism Vs. Passéism,” albeit shirking its instrumental origins and putting a French poem-reciting Picciotto on vocal duty. His work with the band lured them out of their comfort zone, but there is a consistent undercurrent of Fugazi’s sound throughout the record. While it was a bit more adventurous than what the trio had been putting out, it still begs for their evolution to be via their own aesthetic palette. Fortunately, the rest of their work with Guy worked out that way.

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