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Special One - EP

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Album Review

Kurt Ralske's brand of technically masterful, D.I.Y. pop reached its zenith with the "Special One" single. Its cheerful chord progression, married to Ralske's gloom-sexy (think Lou Reed meets Marc Bolan) vocal stylings, made for a delightful contradiction. That, and backing vocals by sweet-voiced Pixie, Kim Deal, guaranteed the single loads of college-station airplay, and the video plenty of rotation on MTV's 120 Minutes. The Special One EP features the title track (taken directly from the Joy 1967-1990 full-length), alongside two re-workings of "Lightning" that depart quite a bit from the original album version. The first, "Lightning (72 b.p.m./4 am)," is a slower, groovier take on the tune, while "A Smile and a Death Wish" is a completely minimalist deconstruction of it. Both versions are interesting enough, providing plenty of Ralske's brilliantly calculated guitar work, but the real hidden gem on the EP is, undoubtedly, "Kind of a Drag"." By re-editing Bonham's classic (and oft sampled) drum-riff from "When the Levee Breaks," Ralske successfully bends Bonzo to his will and, with a dash of T-Rex-ian strut, creates a sweetly cynical rocker that, by all accounts, should have been on the full-length album. ~ J. Scott McClintock, Rovi


Formed: 1986 in New York City, NY

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '80s, '90s

Ultra Vivid Scene is Kurt Ralske like Nine Inch Nails is Trent Reznor. Although Ralske's atmospheric art pop could not sound less like Reznor's thudding industrial disco, the two are not that far apart in terms of aesthetics; Ralske's lyrical obsessions with such gothy standbys as sex, religion, and death make the band's three albums naturals for the mopey black-clad teenager in us all. Ralske was born and raised in New York; something of a musical prodigy, he was accepted into the Berklee School...
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Special One - EP, Ultra Vivid Scene
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