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POP MUSIC REVIEW : The Mad, Disorienting Pitch of Miranda

October 28, 1994|RICHARD CROMELIN

Note to organizers of "Interview with the Vampire" premiere parties: Here's the rock band for you. Miranda Sex Garden.

At the Troubadour on Tuesday, the English group's lead singer Katherine Blake wore a lacy nightgown, and the expression on her wide-eyed, doll-like face alternated between creepy grin and enigmatic smile. She looked all set for a stroll through the crypt.

The soundtrack that Blake, co-frontwoman Donna McKevitt and their four musicians provided was a sort of Gothic punk cabaret. The group started a few years ago as a madrigal-singing female trio, but now it's a full band whose latest album was produced by a member of the German sonic assault team Einsturzende Neubauten.

That's a good musical match for MSG's sense of mystery and dread. Many of the new songs evoke a dreamlike sense of dissolution, of self fading into nothingness, and the clamor the players unleashed on stage instilled an urgency into that sensibility without compromising its ethereal qualities.

Blake's singing ranged from piercingly pure to Courtney Love rant, and violinist McKevitt occasionally stepped out to contribute stratospheric, wordless vocals straight out of contemporary avant-garde music. The music repeatedly wound up to a mad, disorienting pitch, and while it was sometimes sloppy, it was rarely less than effectively phantasmagoric.

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