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On their sixth studio set, Rasputina’s dropped the cello-femmes-trio bit. A lot of the cello here comes from Daniel DeJesus, who doubles on a two-stringed Chinese instrument called an erhu.

The three-cellos bit was fine for touring but hardly crucial for studio fermentation. Founder/mastermind Melora Creager claims the album was recorded "at my home in the Hudson Valley in the summer of 1809." I can almost believe that. Creager loves ghost stories and eerie invocations; the second song here speaks of giants in the earth with jaws 25 feet long. I do believe a land creature that huge would collapse under its own weight — but forget it, she's rolling.

"Olde Dance" clocks in sinister and evasive, but danceable. "Utopian Society" turns out to be nothing of the sort, with what I'm hoping, at least, is despair over the "negro slave" behind every chair in the dining hall.

Creager's studied archness sometimes keeps her from speaking plainly, though she always sounds moxied enough to drag you down her byways and peek in at the logically illogical roadside attractions. Those cellos abrade and sigh, banjo and erhu pop up for cameos, and it's all like the finest rainy-day game of dress-up with your neighborhood cheery Goth babysitter.

  • Album: Sister Kinderhook (2010)
  • Artist: Rasputina
  • Label: Filthy Bonnet
  • Songs: (1) Sweet Sister Temperance (2) Holocaust Of Giants (3) The 2 Miss Leavens (4) My Night Sky (5) Olde Dance (6) Humankind, as the Sailor (7) Calico Indians (8) Snow-Hen Of Austerlitz (9) Dark February (10) Utopian Society (11) Afternoon Of The Faun (12) Kinderhook Hoopskirt Works (13) Meant To Be Dutch (14) This, My Porcelain Life
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