Mecca Normal
(Copyright © 1999 Piero Scaruffi | Legal restrictions - Termini d'uso )

Calico Kills The Cat , 6/10
Water Cuts My Hands , 6/10
Jarred Up , 6/10
Dovetail , 5/10
Flood Plain , 5/10
Sitting On Snaps , 5/10
The Eagle And The Poodle , 6/10
Who Shot Elvis, 5/10
Jean Smith , 5/10
The Family Swan , 5/10
The Observer (2006), 6/10
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I Mecca Normal sono un duo formato nel 1985 nei circoli anarchici di Vancouver: la poetessa e cantante Jean Smith e il chitarrista David Lester. Lei sembra voler fondere le personalita` (e le voci) di Patti Smith e Marianne Faithful, con risultati peraltro piu` isterici che musicali. Lui le rovina addosso accordi sgraziati. L'accoppiata funziona soprattutto dal vivo, e soprattutto nei campus delle "riot grrrrls".

La cassetta autodistribuita Mecca Normal (Smarten Up, 1986 - K, 1995) e` rappresentativa dei loro show (Are You Hungry Joe e I Walk Alone in particolare).

Calico Kills The Cat (K, 1988) vanta Joelle, Blue TV, Smile Baby e Will He Change. Water Cuts My Hands (K, 1991) vanta la title-track, 20 Years/ No Escape e Orange Sunset e soprattutto un atteggiamento piu` polemico.

Forse il meglio della loro opera si trova negli innumerevoli singoli, come Strong White Male, He Didn't Say, It's Important, Rose, molti dei quali verranno raccolti su Jarred Up (K, 1993).

Dovetail (K, 1992) suona vano e pretenzioso, forse alla ricerca con Throw Silver e This Machine di un melodismo piu` accessibile.

Flood Plain (K, 1993) segna certamente una progressione musicale (ci vuol poco), e Ribbon e Walking The Walls si aggiungono ai loro classici "freudiani".

Smith ha anche registrato un disco di parlato e un singolo a suo nome, Ashes (Kill Rock Stars), impostato attorno alle sue recitazioni libere.

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Peter Jefferies joins the band and plays drums and piano on Sitting On Snaps (Matador, 1995). Whether because of his presence or because of Lester's technical improvement, Vacant Night Sky and Trapped Inside Your Heart sound like real songs and not just screaming in front of an audience.

Smith also plays on Peter Jefferies' 2 Foot Flame records.

The Eagle And The Poodle (Matador, 1996) is suddenly a pop album: Jefferies has made a world of difference. Who Shot Elvis (Matador, 1997) is even lighter, thanks to folk ditties such as Step Into My Sphere. With these last few albums, the duo has reinvented itself and turned a political proposition into a musical enterprise.

As an expression of woman's rage, Smith's barbed-wire music has no equals. Her vocal technique is certainly not pleasant, but so is life. Her rebellious, witchy, guttural scat modulates the angst that punk-rock simply howled.

Jean Smith (Kill Rock Stars, 2000) is the singer's solo debut and one of her most radical works. Each song is improvised in studio and is meant to document the process of creating music. Ghost Of Understanding, for saxophone and percussion, and Root Smooth Sapling Whips, for saxophone and piano, are intriguing, but ultimately lack focus. Had she extended them into longer pieces, they would have been more definitive statements of an artist at the border between free jazz and avantgarde composition.

Mecca Normal's The Family Swan (Kill Rock Stars, 2002) continues Smith's mission with the same passion but also with the same musical limits.

The Observer (Kill Rock Stars, 2006) is yet another charming collection of intimate confessions such as Fallen Skier, The Dark Side of Maria, 1922, I'm Not Into Being the Woman You're with While You're Looking for the Woman You Want.

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