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23 Red (23 Red)

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Album Review

Six years after their semi-hyped Starbucks-sponsored stab at breaking out of the independent ghetto, Antigone Rising re-emerge with a slightly different lineup and a much slicker sound on 2011’s 23 Red. Here, the group — now a quartet, down from a quintet — abandon any pretense of rocking and settle into richly harmonic soft rock, equal parts Fleetwood Mac and Dixie Chicks, with accents of Taylor Swift and Sheryl Crow. 23 Red has a patina of rootsiness, just enough to suggest Antigone Rising isn’t manufactured, but the album is decidedly smooth adult pop, as heavily produced as it is melodic. It’s almost old-fashioned in its celebration of songcraft and reliance on immaculate production, and its throwback nature is a large part of its charm: this is an album that does not play by the rules of 2011, it’s the kind of classicist pop that sounds like it could have been released some 10, 15, even 35 years earlier. And this is the crux of Antigone Rising’s appeal, but also their Achilles heel: they make sweet sounds out of time, so it’s hard for them to exist within their own. But for those with a taste for well-crafted Californian soft rock, 23 Red will be quite satisfying.


Formed: 1993 in New York, NY

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

The all-female band Antigone Rising blended the '70s sound of Led Zeppelin and the Eagles with their love of pop so well that it kept them on the road to the tune of 200 or so shows per year, all without a record label. Grassroots promotion and live show after live show earned the band a loyal following and over 20,000 independently released CDs sold. Things changed in 2003 when Lava Records president Jason Flom caught one of Antigone Rising's gigs and signed them. The live EP Traveling Circus was...
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23 Red (23 Red), Antigone Rising
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