Thursday, October 21, 2010

ALGEBRA SUICIDE - please respect our decadence

'Of the many vocalist/instrumentalist duos to emerge in and around the new wave, this Chicago team was quite unique, a fascinating marriage of Don Hedeker's music and Lydia Tomkiw's poetry. Over the course of its career, Algebra Suicide flirted with pop forms and occasionally shared stylistic ground with both Laurie Anderson and the Velvet Underground but never wavered from its own individual path.

The eponymous debut, a four-song 7-inch, offers a sketchy but atmospheric mix of guitar and rhythm box behind Tomkiw's coolly intoned short texts, which include the haunting and memorable "True Romance at the World's Fair," among the group's most enduring pieces. An Explanation for That Flock of Crows adds bass, better sound and new vocal inflections (Tomkiw nearly sings "Tonight") to the recitation of four more numbers made accessible — even catchy — by tangible, occasionally narrative ideas and strong internal tempos. Algebra Suicide isn't rock'n'roll, but even those with an aversion to poetry should try the pair's concise records.


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