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Vue's The Death of a Girl

Wednesday, Nov 3 1999
The Death of a Girl

The druggy, hedonistic glamour of '70s music and culture has profoundly affected the children of that era. The subsumed desperation of that decade's music stretches from David Bowie's cocaine-high paranoid exuberance to Elvis Presley's glitz at the brink of collapse; from ABBA's anthems of insatiable conquest to Fleetwood Mac's embittered discovery that love isn't a drug. As the artists of the era realized that the high doesn't last forever, their desperate attempts to feign strength and enthusiasm in the face of this awakening made for powerfully complex music, rife with anger beneath its desire for pleasure without consequence.

San Francisco's Vue, formerly known as the glam-punk sextet the Audience, are archetypical children of the '70s. Their songs of urgent romance hearken to the desolate nostalgia of early Roxy Music and T. Rex. Now scaled back to a four-piece after losing keyboardist Brent Butler and drummer Jason Riddle (both of whom performed on this five-track EP), Vue recently signed to Sub Pop, which will release its debut album next spring.

On the opener, "Child for You," Riddle and bassist Jeremy Bringetto blast out a tango rhythm beneath guitarist Jonah's thick barre chords, which reverse the stomping crunch of Them's proto-punk classic "I Can Only Give You Everything." Vocalist/guitarist Rex Shelverton stammers and wails like a drug-crazed Richard Hell, insisting, "My hands are white, but I'll never go/ I'm sifting through the ashes just to be with you." "Hush Your Head" is driven by Shelverton's delay-drenched vocals, the dual guitarists' staccato strut, and keyboardist Jessica Graves' shimmering organ. Two songs from Vue's 1998 GSL single close the EP: the tremolo guitar and flanging bolero "Young Soul," and "The Voyeurs," which winks at Marc Bolan's hip-swaying retro-rock. Just like the saturated-color cover photos depicting the band members sprawled in various positions of ecstatic collapse, Vue are eager for the glamour of excess.

About The Author

Dave Clifford


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