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Calling all submissives: Jucifer's Amber Valentine has some boots that need shining

Wednesday, Dec 3 2003
Every rocker boy dreams of bowing down to an amazon onstage – a 50-foot queenie with platinum-blond tresses, black lashes that could poke your eyes out, lips that would make a microphone sweat – and meeting his maker beneath her boot heels, ears bleeding from the sheer volume of consummation. Jucifer's Amber Valentine is this goddess of rock 'n' roll fantasy. And like that of most vixens of illusory bliss, her appearance reeks of contrivance, from the Debbie Harry dye job to the 12-inch platforms. But the music is undeniably real.

As the blown circuit breakers of subterranean clubs across the nation can attest, Valentine plays a mean guitar. Though she and her longtime partner (drummer Edgar Livengood) hail from Athens, Ga., their wall-of-amps-and-drum-bashing vision is a far cry from the jangly six-string pop of hometown heroes R.E.M., whose singer Michael Stipe has called the duo "a very loud and aggressive Southern gothic version of PJ Harvey." Though his flattery's not entirely off the mark, a better soulmate is My Bloody Valentine, the British band of the late '80s and early '90s that married iridescent noise with honeyed melodies.

Fortunately, Jucifer is no knockoff. Sultry chanteuse Valentine may seduce the mike with perfumed whispers one minute, then devour it with satanic fury the next. And her grinding hallucinatory guitar coupled with Livengood's chain-gang beats is closer to acid grunge than dreamy pop. All of which adds to the agonizing pleasure of pledging devotion to a warrior princess and her hell-bound sound.

About The Author

Sam Prestianni


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