A Radical Recital
Produced By: Filthy Bonnet
Reviewed by Melissa Minners
On first glance, the group Rasputina, seems to be a bit odd. Clad in clothing best suited for the 1800’s and armed with cellos and a drum set, one would hardly believe that this group could possibly play anything worth listening to. But one should never judge a book by its cover. Rasputina was formed by Melora Creager in an effort to enlighten the world on the versatility of the cello. It is a goal that she and fellow celloist Zoe Keating have most certainly accomplished. Accompanied by the percussions of Jonathan TeBeest, Rasputina has a sound like no other alternative group in the industry. The musical diversity is evident just in who they’ve appeared with on stage – Nirvana, Marilyn Manson, Porno for Pyros, Cheap Trick, Joan Osborne, Goo-Goo Dolls and more.
A Radical Recital is a concert that was recorded live in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. In keeping with its quirky theme, the album cover states that the recital was recorded live at Mr. Smalls’ Funhouse on October 29, 1804. Throughout the recital, Melora Creager converses with her audience, keeping them completely involved in the performance. Her anecdotes and tone are reminiscent of Bette Midler’s performance of Otto Titsling in Beaches . The comments she makes before almost every song in the recital range from the strange (discussing a “piece of rice” that will contain everything about us and will one day be tucked under the skin of one arm) to the funny (twisting animal rights and the right to bare arms and declaring that animals aren’t always right and asking why shouldn’t we have the right to go sleeveless), to something bordering T.M.I. (the discussion of Hitler and his one testicle).
Just as intriguing as the banter are the songs included in the recital. Hunter’s Kiss tells the tale of a hunting incident through the eyes of a dying dear. When I Was A Young Girl is a bouncy, fun tune reminiscent of the party songs of the 1800s. Barracuda is a song that they refer to as classical, but is actually a well-performed display of rock n’ roll. If Your Kisses Can’t Hold The Man You Love reminds us that there is no use crying over lost love and is quite hilarious, lyrically speaking. The song, A Quitter, contains very powerful lyrics giving the audience insight into the mind of a person about to commit suicide: “My house, / My block, / The baby bird I set free. / The dance that I was never asked to, / The teachers / That thought they knew me. / They'll all remember what I did. / They'll ask "Whose fault was it?" / "Oh she was just a kid." / I'll be glad to go, you see. / You don't even know me. / Not at all.” By far, A Quitter is lyrically the best song on the album just as Rock & Roll is the best song musically.
Quirkiness aside, Rasputina’s members are amazingly talented and they certainly know how to captivate an audience. A Radical Recital blends old with new, hilarity with seriousness. It is certainly an album worth checking out.