Legendary Pink Dots 

Plutonium Blonde

Founded in England in 1980 and presently residents of Holland, the Legendary Pink Dots continue with their unique synthesis of goth-y synth-pop, industrial noise, and psychedelia. Singer Edward Ka-Spell still sings with that (very) Syd Barrett-like, wee gnome chirrup. Their lyrics remain mondo-gloomy but laced with a peculiar, very British sense of whimsy (likely part of the 1960s UK psych influence), sidestepping the preciousness and oppressiveness of their kin (i.e., the Cure's Robert Smith: It doesn't matter if we all die.)

What makes the Legendary Pink Dots so pleasantly palatable (along with their humor) is a healthy sense of variety — this set begins with the merciless nightmarish clank of "Torchsong," followed by the trippy, somewhat soothing "Rainbows Too?" which could almost be a Simple Minds or OMD song, until its aching, extended fuzzed-out guitar solo. (Steve Hillage and Gong fans: Alert!) The pastoral "Mailman" is mostly just Ka-Spell's voice accompanied by a banjo (!) until it veers into the Syd zone. The cyclic tones of the instrumental interlude "Savannah Red" evoke West African percussion, and the dreamy, surreal closer "Cubic Caesar" is gently driven by a distant-sounding, blues-flavored guitar wail before dissolving into a slightly dissonant, comforting ambient soundscape.

I never thought I'd say this now (I was into the Legendary Pink Dots circa '83), but this is excellent. (ROIR)

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