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Joy Von Spain "Lady Lazarus"


Spain makes some of the most menacingly beautiful music today, and deserves as much love (and press) as, say, Diamanda Galas, or Tom Waits or Carla Bozulich. Or even Goreki. “Lady Lazarus” makes us uneasy by easily mining the classical and the experimental to create gritty, fearlessly emotional music. “Lady Lazarus” is difficult listening, but transforming as well.

Many of the songs build to a shattering middle or conclusion, with resolutions that don’t comfort. She plays, manipulates and warps many a keyboard in the process. These are songs that wait in the dark for the right moment to attack themselves. That collapse into raw emotion or momentary shock gives both versions of the title track (recorded in 1993 and 2008) particular power. “Slice” and “Dreadful Passage” each have two parts, as if their intensity could not have been contained in a single track. They are the peaks of the record, though the haunting “Beast Blob Parasite” is monstrous on so many poetic levels. Spain disturbs in ways that touch a lot of nerves. This is a record that plays like a sonic regressive therapy session. It reminds you on personal secrets.

“Lady Lazarus,” like its author, is genius. Difficult and harrowing, but honest and therefore holy, the songs of Joy Von Spain cant be forgotten if you tried, unless you exorcise them out of you. 9/10 -- Mike Wood (7 October, 2009)

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