The very concept of Edie Sedgwick is one that deserves ample discussion. To save some precious time, here are a few words on the subject from our good friend Greg: “DC’s Edie Sedgwick is a unique performer that you might say bears little in common with his namesake. The original Sedgwick was a socialite actress most recognized for starring in Andy Warhol films. The Sedgwick in question purports to be the original’s transgendered reincarnation and is signed, interestingly enough, to legendary Dischord Records.”
He’s not kidding.
Things are Getting Sinister and Sinisterer (Sedgwick’s latest offering from Dischord) appears, at first glance, to be constituted primarily of watered-down dance-punk and vocals that bring to mind the yelpy likes of The Rapture. But upon a more in-depth listen, you will find yourself entrenched in something unexpectedly enchanting. Possessing an atypical, under-the-radar disposition, “Red Dawn” is the chief purveyor of this quality, its bass-synth tag team providing a surplus of melancholy and the footing for a few rounds of anthemic chorusing.
Loopy basslines and post-punk percussion are found on just about every track of Sinister and Sinisterer, which makes the power-packed vocals sound all the more affluent (and the artist’s label choice, thus unsurprising). The bass-drums combination, however, gives all that it underlies a desultory feel. There’s never a sense of direction, aside from that of “Edie Sedgwick II,” where cooing vocals and a reminiscence of old Smashing Pumpkins maintain some air of intention (even if the song seems like a red-headed step-child compared to the album as a whole).
Climaxes are rare here, breakdowns even more so. And don’t even think about a crescendo. “Angelina Jolie” meanders indefinitely during its three-minute lifespan with a uniform bass reptition and four or five varied vocal bits intermittingly. Time becomes dragged out and degraded when passing through the album’s tracklisting for just this reason. You imagine every song should end before its allotted time, even though the track would much prefer to ramble on in its own right. It’s almost like being caught behind the guy who insists on driving exactly the speed limit, which proves to be infuriating at its worst.
There does exist a bank of truly interesting sound on Sinister and Sinisterer. “Sissy Spacek” sports a rad guitar bit in its last minute, while “March of the Penguins” uses jazzy keyboards at random throughout its whole. I just wish that Edie Sedgwick would choose to use these clips more often, as they tend to be the most enthralling bit of the song.
Regardless of how infrequent these distinctive fragments of audio are, when they merge with their foundational mathy beats, the result leads me to label Sinister and Sinisterer as a study in copy/paste art. During the more robotic jams such as “Anthony Perkins,” it becomes apparent that Edie Sedgwick finds the broken record method equally effective in situations not relating to drug abstinence, which if you ask me, is really not the best decision in this case.
However unpleasant this may sound, many moments make Sinister and Sinisterer worth listening to. Emerging at the album’s close, “Rob Lowe” uses all of these methods to create something essentially enjoyable. Bumping and bouncing with the power and determination of a broken mechanical bull, its collection of audio clips coalesces in a way that just isn’t found elsewhere. Its dance-with-chaos character turns out to be a favorable way to end the record (because otherwise you’d feel like you just went through 34 futile minutes of frustration).
What then can be said in conclusion about Edie Sedgwick? You could point out that by closing with “Red Dawn,” “Rob Lowe,” and “Edie Sedgwick II,” they’re humane at the very least. You might also suggest that they probably make for a great time live. I’d say they just need to favor their prime material, being that the rest of their stuff will only get them as far as vague Tom Vek and Clor references (also, that I still don’t understand what the song titles have to do with the content, but that’s of no consequence now).
Label: Dischord Records
Release Date: May 15 2008
1. Sissy Spacek
2. Mary-Kate Olsen
3. Angelina Jolie
4. Anthony Perkins
5. March of the Penguins
6. Bambi_G.W. Bush
8. Red Dawn
9. Rob Lowe
10. Edie Sedgwick II
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