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Plutonium Blonde

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Album Review

The folks at ROIR say that this is Legendary Pink Dots' "most commercially appealing album to date," and the scary (and kind of cool) thing is that they may well be right. Think about that while you're listening to "Torchsong," with its stomping industrial beat, its mechanical-animals-in-agony sound effects, and its faintly menacing vocals. Or the mopey synth pop of "Rainbows Too?," the weirdly whimsical spoken word interlude "An Arm and a Leg," the fingerpicked banjo on "Mailman," or the decidedly creepy album closer "Cubic Caesar." There's a little bit of something for everyone on Plutonium Blonde, and while bands that work intentionally to provide that kind of pandering variety usually end up sounding desperate, the Legendary Pink Dots just sound like the kind of band that can make all kinds of weirdness sound pleasing in many different ways. Notice, for example, the wimp-folk opening to "A World Without Mirrors," on which an acoustic guitar and flute tempt you to turn off the stereo immediately; stick with it, though, and the song suddenly turns into an ambient electric meditation that is startlingly captivating. Notice also how the extended instrumental coda of "Rainbows Too?" actually manages to make layered backwards guitar sound interesting — bet you never thought you'd hear interesting backward guitars again. They're just that kind of band.

Biography

Formed: 1980 in London, England

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s

Formed in London in 1980, the Legendary Pink Dots moved to Amsterdam in the middle of the decade. Members throughout the band's career have been Edward Ka-Spel (vocals, keyboards) and Phil Knight (keyboards), also known as the Silver Man, with a shifting supporting cast over the years. The Dots' music is by turns melodic pop and exotic psychedelia, with classical influences, sampling, and relentlessly dark, violent, apocalyptic lyrics. After several releases for Mirrodot and Inphaze during the early...
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Plutonium Blonde, Legendary Pink Dots
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