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Good Looking Blues
     

Good Looking Blues

by Laika
 
Good Looking Blues is an unexpectedly apt title for Laika's third album. One might predict these post-rock veterans would use "blues" very loosely, but many of the album's lyrics integrate familiar blues quotations ("Loverman flew across the sky, loverman left home," "You never miss the water till the well runs dry") and use a blues-like repetition of lines to

Overview

Good Looking Blues is an unexpectedly apt title for Laika's third album. One might predict these post-rock veterans would use "blues" very loosely, but many of the album's lyrics integrate familiar blues quotations ("Loverman flew across the sky, loverman left home," "You never miss the water till the well runs dry") and use a blues-like repetition of lines to develop themes of entrapment and escape, often from male violence. Similar to works from P. J. Harvey, Moby, and Snakefarm, Good Looking Blues uses the power of the blues imagery to humanize its own very contemporary world. Laika's music is built around Margaret Fiedler's spoken and sung vocals and a seamless blend of live musicians and electronics: Rhodes keyboards, deep bass-'n'-drum grooves, turntablism, and samples, with the occasional spooky horn solo. The resulting mishmash engulfs you with trippy rhythms and noir atmospheres, echoing early Tricky and Portishead. Over the dark and swirling backing track of the album's centerpiece "Badtimes," Fiedler recites the widely circulated email parody about the supposed Bad Times computer virus. As she lists the insidious, absurd disasters that the virus will cause -- "It will leave libidinous messages on your boss's voice mail in your voice" -- Fiedler sounds like a newscaster trying to maintain objectivity in the face of disaster. The song, like the album, succeeds through its juxtaposition of the familiar and the unexpected.

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Amy Schroeder
For a band that named itself after the first dog in outer space -- and previous albums called Sounds of the Satellites and Silver Apples of the Moon -- you'd think Laika would make spacey ambient music with a focus on quirky beats. And they do, sometimes. The emphasis, though, of Good Looking Blues, the London quartet's third album, is to give equal attention to Margaret Fiedler's smooth, somewhat gothic-and-soul-influenced vocals and the band's mixture of rock, slow electronic, and sit-on-your-couch dance music. Fiedler, who went to grade school with Liz Phair in Winnetka, Illinois and later played in a Smiths-sounding college band with Moby, speak-sings dark fictional stories about life's basic themes: love, sex, death, and work. But it's not quite that simple. For instance, on one of the album's standouts, "Black Cat Bone," she tells a story of a woman who kills her evil husband with voodoo: "Rocks for my pillow and sand for my bed/For better or worse, I left him for dead." Laika's talent is crafting a particular mood. This mood, however, is difficult to explain. With songs about nights of apologies on "Moccasin," a lover man leaving on "T Street," and working for the man until death do you part on "Widow's Weed" you can't deny that Laika is dealing with themes of depression and wallowing in sadness. And even though you wouldn't call the sound upbeat, it is indeed mesmerizing, tranquil, and head-bobbing.

Product Details

Release Date:
08/08/2000
Label:
Too Pure / Beggars
UPC:
0644918008927
catalogNumber:
80089

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