Rasputina- Frustration Plantation (Instinct Records)
review by Derek Perduta

Track Listing

1. Doomsday Averted
2. Secret Message
3. Possum Of The Grotto
4. Your Kisses Can't Hold The Man You Love
5. The Mayor
6. When I Count...
7. High On Life
8. Wicked Dickie
9. My Captivity By Savages
10. Saline The Salt Lake Queen
11. Oh Injury
12. When I Was A Young Girl
13. Momma
14. Nov. 17dee
15. Girl's School

Bonus Disc:

1. Yellow Fever (Frustration Plantation out-take)
2. Momma Was An Opium-Smoker (Melora Mix)
3. Nov. 17dee (long version)
4. Secret Message (Melora mix)
5. Crazy Swan (Cabin Fever remnant)
6. Sanchez (Frustration Plantation sketch)
7. Mr. Romberg (from Lakme by Delibes)
8. My Soul (traditional)
9. Oh Injury (reprise)

I think anyone unfamiliar with Rasputina would fall into two categories upon hearing them for the first time: Either they would be appalled at the sonic disturbance wreaking havoc on their ears, or they would be drawn towards it with a mindless fascination like a moth to a bright light.

I don't think I'm being too harsh here. I mean really, we're talking about a cello led glam-ish alt rock band. Fronted by one Melora Creager, who has been the lead creative force in all the different incarnations of Rasputina (each release brings a new line up). The band is rounded out this time by Zoe Keating on cello and backing vox, Jonathon TeBeest on drums and percussion with Joseph Bishara on drum programming.

So you may be wondering how a couple of chick cello players rock out? The answer is very well, thank you. 'Frustration Plantation' definitely has an edge over prior releases as a proper drummer is featured on numerous tracks. There are a handful of real belters here (in their own way), and great tracks that truly do rock (yes yes, rock with cellos). I would swear there is a fuzz cello in there somewhere as well, but I could be wrong. The live drums really add some kick that I think benefits the overall Rasputina sound.

Not all the tracks on 'Frustration Plantation' are rock-driven. Some weave a subtle tale, a couple trot through the realm of the bizarre, but the bulk of these tracks just work in a way that no other band can claim. The originality of sound, captured in some unorthodox cello usage, mixed with various drum styles (subtle to kicking) plus sampling and bizarre lyrics really are attention grabbers. Take a listen to track 3 'Possum of the Grotto', or track 10 'Saline The Salt Lake Queen', to get an idea of what Rasputina is about. These tracks epitomized their unique sound.

Lyrical content can't be described, it's sort of a journey down the rabbit hole, I say just go with it and listen to each tune as a whole. Think of it as having chosen the red pill over the blue. One example of this is track 9 titled 'My Captivity By Savages'. It's more of a monologue than a song. It's a first person narrative by a young woman captured by American Indians back in the early 1800's and of her plight. The track ends too soon, I really wanted to know what happened to the woman. I listened with rapt fascination, my earlier analogy to the moth flying towards the light being fitting here. I think I flew a bit too close and got burnt on that one. Very strange, but great nonetheless.

In closing let's go back to the first paragraph for a moment. I presumed listeners of Rasputina would fall into one of two categories. Can you guess where I fall in? You guessed it, the latter. I am a fan of their creativeness, their 'dare to be different' attitude. These ladies know how to kick some ass and leave one wanting more, especially me. Keep kicking I say!

Oh, and be sure to pick up the first printing of 'Frustration Plantation' on shelves now. It contains a bonus disc with 9 unreleased, remixed and demo tracks.

Official Website: www.rasputina.com


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