“Sexy Wife” has staccato guitars until the real noise kicks in for the chorus (oh, so that’s how he does it). It’s also fun watching the bassist remain largely calm while still playing some unsuaul high notes on his instrument. The drummer doesn’t have any fancy gizmos, but he keeps a steady loud beat. And I love that the singer is quite a pretty fellow in his Oxford shirt and parted hair (but he can scream like the best of them).
“De Bom Bom (their newest single) is just full of noise and more noise (how can you have chords if it’s just staicky noise?) as the bass rumbles along. This song is intense.
“Heckle The Frames” is a noisy chaotic pile of hardcore (and is about 90 seconds long). It’s followed by “I Love You” a cover of the Beat Happening song. For this one, it’s pretty much all bass and drums while the guitarist fiddles with his pedals making a larger wall of noise until he begins playing a ringing open note. I don’t know the original, but I imagine it’s nothing like this.
“Lawman” shows off just how noisy the bassist can be in the opening moments. And his riff, coupled with the noisy riff of the guitar, make for such an enjoyable combination. I love how the song which you assume is over–at about the length of their other songs–suddenly turns into something else altogether–a sort of guitar solo, if you will.
The final song is “The Cha Cha Cha” which is all of 25 seconds. It’s a pretty great set if you like your music noisy.
[READ: March 19, 2015] Blacksad
This book collects the first three Blacksad volumes: Somewhere within the Shadows (2000), Arctic Nation (2002) and Red Soul (2005). I’m only bummed that it took me so long between books to read them. They were translated by Anthya Flores and Patricia Rivera
It’s amazing to see that it takes two or three years between books, but when you look at the visuals, it is completely understandable. The drawings/paintings in these volumes are simply incredibly. They are incredibly realistic with exquisite attention paid to detail. The fact that he can make people with animal heads seem sexy is really a testament to his drawing skills.
Okay so Blacksad is a noirish detective series with a slight twist. John Blacksad is a cat. Well, he is a human shaped person with a cat head. But otherwise he is very much a detective–he is hunky, has smoldering eyes and is a really hard dude. And that first story opens with his former lover dead in her bead. She is so pretty (and colored in pale fleshtones), that one might be hard pressed to see her as a car (except for the ears).
This mystery is personal and John sets out to find out who wanted his former lover dead.
What is so great about the Blacksad series is how they use totally appropriate animals to convey the charterers which they emulate–a prize fighting gorilla, a mouse housekeeper, a German Shepherd chief of police. And some bad guys as lizards and weasels. This may seem obvious as characterization, but the characters are so perfectly realized that they just makes sense.
Even when the chief of police comes to him in confidence–not an original idea in the detective realm–it works because of the art and the fully realized characters.
“Arctic Nation” takes the basic premise of Blacksad in a very different direction. And the genius of using the artic visual to discuss a race war is perfect. For in the arctic, you have pure white animals like arctic foxes and polar bears. And they try to intimidate all the “impure” animals in the city (with a wonderfully modified Nazi Flag (the swastika is a snowflake)). But how can a black cat (with a white muzzle) like Blacksad hope to infiltrate.
The story grows more entangled as we realize that the Arctic Nation did not always rule this town. And in fact, racial purity was not so important to a few prominent people in town. The actual cause for Blacksdad’s appearance, though, is a missing girl. The girl is from a black family–and a again the artwork perfectly conveys the figures of “white” and “black” characters, that even though they are dogs or cats, you know what “race” they are meant to be.
There is a case of infidelity which leads to some anger between some of the higher ups, but when Blacksad discovers some more details, the full depths of what’s happening is more impressive. The story ends in a fiery disturbance that echoes of the KKK.
“Red Soul” sees our hero venture to Las Vegas (which is actually something of a continuation of the previous story).
But this story goes in what seems like a very different direction. Blacksad sees that Otto Liebber will be speaking in town about nuclear power. We flashback to Blacksad’s connection to Liebber (he was a generous beneficiary to poor kids, specifically Blacksad).
Tied to Liebber is a woman whom Blacksad rather falls for. She is author Alma Mayer, and she is connected with the cadre of intellectuals who work in a loose collective known as the 12 apostles .
While Blacksad tries to get a conversation with the professor he learns that the professor’s life is in danger. Blacksad manages to save his life–just as a flashback reveals some secrets that Blacksad didn’t know about his hero.
One of the final scenes in an aquarium is simply stunning visually.
Blacksad falls hard for Alma, but as with any detective story, he can’t always stick to his promises.
I read this book after the other two but I liked it best of all. Although it didn’t impact my understating of the narrative, I wish I had read this one first. Just because it was so good And it would have been interesting to see the way the artistic style changes impacted the work in the later volumes.
I see that volumes 6 and 7 are due to be released in France in 2016. That means a few more years before they get translated here. More’s the pity that I’ll have to wait so long to read some more. But it will be worth it.