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Odor of Pears- Crown of Thorns

I hadn't heard from Diana Blackwell and her fruit-scented cohorts since March 1994's Naked cassette (that was back in my Alternative Press days, before I'd even heard of the World Wide Web!) so it was a great surprise and pleasure when this CD dropped into my box. In the intervening years, OOP released its debut CD (1998's Mortal) and early in 2000 relocated from sleepy Columbia, Missouri, to freaky Berkeley, California. Time has been kind to this trio, which has maintained the same line-up since 1990. They're still exploring sex and obsession with grimly sinuous electro-rock, but if my ever-more-dim memory serves me right, they're as good, if not better, than they were back in the day. Always a treat to hear a band mature without growing stale. "Underground" makes effective use of vocal distortion, blending Diana's voice into a caustic wall of sound, and "Joan" (as in, of Arc) is a theatrical epic that approaches an well-worn subject with spine-tingling results. Joe K., who produced all the music on Crown Of Thorns, shows off broad influences, from Sabbath ("Fuck Christianity") to Front 242 ("Dildo") and Laurie Anderson ("Babies Without Faces"). Russell rounds out the band with extravagant stage visuals that I'm not in a position to fairly judge. Little pictures on the web site are intriguing, but how about some streaming video, kids? -- Jim Santo

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Odor of Pears 2004, Rev: 02/10/04