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Ruby Throat - The Ventriloquist

  by Jon Rogers

published: 11 / 12 / 2009

Ruby Throat - The Ventriloquist
Label: Sleep Like Wolves
Format: CD


Sluggish Americana on 2008 debut album from Ruby Throat, the latest project of former Daisy Chainsaw singer Katy Garside, which has now released in a new edition with an additional EP

If you’re old enough like your humble correspondent you’ll remember Daisy Chainsaw. A loud, loutish caterwauling one hit wonder indie band who demanded ‘Love Your Money’ in February 1992 before disappearing from view. The band were most notable for their frontwoman KatieJane Garside who would play gigs in grubby and torn baby doll dresses and sip juice from a baby bottle. The image and serrated musical style would see the band, and Garside in particular, aligned with the Riot Grrrl movement involving the likes of Huggy Bear and Bikini Kill. After a number of musical and art projects Garside’s latest venture is a collaboration with busker Chris Whittingham and a radical departure from the likes of Daisy Chainsaw. ‘The Ventriloquist’ actually first saw the light of day in 2008 with a limited edition run in fancy packaging this “special edition” sees the album get a proper release and now comes with an additional EP: “We’ll just keep adding songs until it’s 10 hours long,” says Garside. “It’s an ongoing life project... it’s an ongoing experiment trying to find the ideal order in which the songs want to play.” Oh dear, the utter pretentious sensors have just gone on red alert. Ruby Throat are a radical departure from anyone expecting loudy, shouty, in-yer-face pop songs and ‘The Ventriloquist’ is much softer, gentle, ethereal, pastoral folk. Garside’s vocals are caught somewhere between Joanna Newsom and the Cocteau Twins' Liz Fraser and sees the vocal range jump about nimbly from lusty, orgasmic breathiness to shrill shrieking. But Garside’s vocal gymnastics aren’t enough to save ‘The Ventriloquist’ – not from being utterly pretentious but just down right dull. Admittedly everything is fine to start off with opener ‘Swan and the Minotaur (Troubled Man)’. There’s Garside’s captivating vocals and some gentle, beautiful playing from Whittingham. All very nice and nothing to complain about. Then it happens again on ‘House of Thieves’. And on the following ‘Naked Ruby’ and on and on. Now Pennyblackmusic is rather partial to the endless repetitive drones of La Monte Young so can appreciate monotony but it’s hard to discern the difference between any of the twelve songs they sound exactly the same. And use the same formula. Hazy, indecipherable lyrics, vocal gymnastics and some unassuming, folk-ish playing. Over and over again. By the end it ends up just being a dull, flat, mess. And the additional EP is just like the album.

Track Listing:-
1 Swan and the Minotaur (Troubled Man)
2 House of Thieves
3 Naked Ruby
4 Salto Angel
5 Dear Daniel
6 The Ventriloquist
7 Lie to Me
8 Ghost Boy
9 John 3.16
10 Happy Now Part 2
11 Consuela's Newt
12 Boat Song

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