Rasputina | Oh Perilous World (Filthy Bonnet)

cd_rasputinaLike the White Stripes' Icky Thump, Oh Perilous World finds Rasputina staying true to its fans and prior work, with fewer turnoffs to the less experimental fan.





With highly anticipated albums—in this case Rasputina's Oh Perilous World—I like to be in a secluded area free from distraction to calculate my first impressions. I couldn't help myself, though. Listening to my iPod while biking around (yeah I'm that cool) with the rollerskate jams of Mr. Quintron, Le Tigre, and Gravy Train!!!!, I had to flip on the new Rasputina. Probably not the ideal Rasputina conditions; a unicycle in a dark alley on Halloween would have been more appropriate. I next put it on to accompany NHL 2K7, also a poor choice. Perhaps Prince of Persia? The third time I was painting our basement, which would have been OK, but instead of an eerie, magical, gothic pirate scene, it was just white paint.

But anywhere you play this album, it rocks. Twelve tracks flow seamlessly throughout 46-minutes of masterful cello playing accompanied with Melora Creagar's chatter that belts out fables of the birth of Frankenstein as well as translations of news stories from the past two years that Melora vigorously notebooked.

The perfect opener, "1816, the Year Without a Summer," embodies Rasputina's essence, an ancient, made-up story of something gone wrong, embedded with pop-culture tidbits of the 1816: Ben Franklin, Frankenstein, and Volcano Tambora.

"Chose Me for Champion" contrasts thumping, unsettling, heavy-reverb cello with the Melora's most opera-like vocals that stumble across a duet with Jonathon and concludes with a dialogue of breakneck speed to which Melora admits, "And I'm exaggerating only very slightly."

Track three is the first single and possibly best Perilous track, "Cage in a Cave." Melora flaunts her best voice melody with scratchy, high-pitched strings. When you're lost within cello solos, eccentric singing, and some lyrics that are "mostly the translation of an Osama Bin-Laden speech," Creagar pulls the listener back in with a colloquial question tactic, "Guess what his defense is?" and then proceeds to answer it.

"Incident in a Medical Clinic" begins and ends with the best sung line, "Quite unbelievably/ I want someone to be sweet to me/ when I am an absolute horrible pain," but what lies between is crazy, shifting from waltz to plain noise with commentary.

Like the White Stripes' Icky Thump, Oh Perilous World finds Rasputina staying true to its fans and prior work, with fewer turnoffs to the less experimental fan. Since Rasputina's last studio album, Frustration Plantation, songs like "Wicked Dickie" have become filler and distract from its hits "High on Life," "Secret Message," and "If Your Kisses." Perilous limits commentary within hits; only one song is all-talking, the 35-second "Old Yellowcake Breaking News," an entertaining mockery of NPR using overly proper phrases like "just last yesterday," which leads in to the incredible, "Old Yellowcake."

All songs are written by Creagar, which means no famous covers of Sir-Mix-A-Lot, no Pink Floyd, no Tom Petty, nor any Sophie Tucker. However, fans who saw a radical recital within the last two years may have familiarity with the medley "A Retinue of Moons/The Infidel Is Me" and the best song runner-up by my estimate, "Oh Bring Back the Egg Unbroken," with its easy-to-follow plot line. This album is definitely worth buying, worthy of the three-year wait, and good enough to last until the next album. (Keep your fingers crossed.) A | Joseph O'Fallon

RIYL: Dresden Dolls, Joanna Newsom, Nirvana


The band has a few dates in July with the excellent Jana Hunter. Dame Darcy (tourmate of Rasputina last winter) has made a video, a "perfectly creepy accompaniment to the song," "1816, the Year Without a Summer" and you can preview the entire album.

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