Today’s music scene needs more bands like Rasputina who aren’t afraid to do exactly what they want. From the first strange notes of Rasputina’s sixth release Oh Perilous World, the cello-based rock group assaults listeners with surprisingly abrasive yet enticingly bizarre compositions.With the help of second chair cellist Sarah Bowman and drummer Jonathon TeBeest, lead vocalist and cellist Melora Creager has written an impressively high-concept record. As the title suggests, the album focuses on the horrors of the modern world, specifically child soldiers in Africa, the conflict in Fallujah, and Hurricane Katrina.
ame Oh Perilous World is as odd musically as conceptually. The cellos come in crystal clear tones, roughly-bowed explosions and every other form in between. On “”Draconian Crackdown”” they are even distorted to a degree that would make Kirk Hammett jealous. On the same song Creager rips the cello like itâ€šÃ„Ã´s a Les Paul and screams as if covering Wolfmother. Then in “”The Pruning,”” in keeping with her wide breadth of musicianship, she sings sweetly and clearly like a less childish Joanna Newsom.
ame Although she mentions Osama bin Laden and Saddam Hussein, one of the more peculiar names Creager drops is Mary Shelley. In the record’s opening track “”1816, The Year Without a Summer”” she half speaks, half passionately laments “”June, 1816 / A sudden snow storm blankets all the countryside / So Mary Shelley had to stay inside and she wrote Frankenstein,”” a perplexing reference yet an intriguing inference that even natural disasters can have positive side effects.
ame Sound weird to you? It is. However, too many records fade into the background these days. Oh Perilous World grabs listeners from beginning to end and doesn’t give a damn if they want to run from its clutches or fold themselves into its eclectic embrace.