February 3, 2005

Christina Rosenvinge: Foreign Land

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Christina Rosenvinge’s second solo album doesn’t appear to offer much at first glance. The cover art was evidently stolen from the first album’s photo sessions: a chic, auburn Spanish-Danish sophisticate trolls the bleak streets of Berlin, relishing her own solitude and weariness. Indeed, one listen shows that Rosenvinge grew up under the somber tutelage of Marianne Faithfull, Francoise Hardy, Nico and other depressed decadents.

But Foreign Land, produced by Sonic Youth’s Lee Renaldo, is the best incarnation of ’60s mood music since March April’s last album. On “Off Screen” and “36,” keyboards and Spanish guitar drench the songs in pitch and red wine as Rosenvinge slurs anglocentric fluff in an accent that will redefine our notions of sex and apathy. Decrepit cellos crumble onto “Dream Room”‘s Gregorian chants, and glacial violins mutate into infernal marimbas. This is mercilessly serious, heartrending music that verges perilously on self-parody. But there’s nothing wrong with overwrought coolness, and, in general, this is one of the most mysterious and enrapturing albums of winter.

4 Stars

Archived article by Alex Linhardt