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Group Therapy

27 customer reviews

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Audio CD, January 15, 2002
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

'Group Therapy' features 12 new recordings from all original members Johnette Napolitano, Jim Mankey, and Harry Rushakoff. This is their first new album in 7 years, since 1994's 'Mexican Moon'. Manifesto Records.

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Practice is said to make perfect, but perspective is arguably just as important. Group Therapy, Concrete Blonde's first new record after an eight-year hiatus, shows that original band members Johnette Napolitano, Jim Mankey, and Harry Rushakoff have gained some of just that. They've stepped out of the shadow of the Pretenders and shrugged off the Goth overtones that characterized their last commercially successful record (1990's Bloodletting), and have found that the balance between stylizing and emulating comes from putting personality--not posturing--first. Group Therapy opens with the radio single "Roxy," a tribute in form and content to Eno-era Roxy Music. With a pastiche of lyrics delivered in Napolitano's strong, throaty voice, the song sets the stage for a dozen tracks ranging in style from adult-oriented rock tunes to truck-stop country ballads to angry rock ragers about growing up and getting real. Though they occasionally read like high school poetry, the lyrics are redeemed by the sincerity of the band's performance. Group Therapy is dynamic and accessible enough to gain the band new listeners while giving old fans the sort of exciting Concrete Blonde music they've waited for since Bloodletting. --Sarah A. Sternau

1. Roxy
2. Violent
3. When I Was A Fool
4. True, Part III
5. Tonight
6. Valentine
7. Your Llorona
8. Take Me Home
9. Inside/Outside
10. Fried
11. Angel
12. Memory

Product Details

  • Audio CD (January 15, 2002)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Manifesto Records
  • ASIN: B00005UD01
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #79,004 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

21 of 22 people found the following review helpful By A. Reid VINE VOICE on December 19, 2004
Format: Audio CD
I bought this c.d. out of a lingering sense of loyalty to a band that I once enjoyed tremendously. I was sad when they broke up. I was nostalgically pleased when they got back together. But I have to admit that I wasn't expecting that much. In my general experience, bands split when they run out of stuff to say, and they get back together because they miss the moolah, not because they suddenly found new material. I would have been satisfied with a few good songs on this disc. Instead, I got a really solid album that's a, um, bit of a downer.

The album is riddled with nostalgia, longing and an awareness of the pending end. This always introspective group is digging deep into the territory of grief-expert Kubler-Ross. There are tributes to the glory days of other musicians (David Bowie-"all the young dudes" and Rod Stewart-"maggie may") and their own ("I know you liked me better then"). There's a teary-eyed nod to the Roxy and what reads like a lament for lost good-ol' days (in Violent, where "nothing seems to mean what it meant"). There's what seems to me an element of lash-back anger towards the accouterments of celebrity in Valentine, essentially a threat-song from a steel-spined goth queen who seems contemptuous of at least the chroniclers of celebrity. There's the "life is lonely" lost connections, lost love, last calls, last chances of the Latino-tinged Llorona and the superior boozer Take Me Home. Then there is the "ubi sunt"-the "those days are gone," the time-is-ending, end-is-near, days-are-passing songs, like True Part III ("& when / I leave this life / what will you say of me / you who never knew my heart?") and the finale, Memory.

If I had to pin `em to a mood, I'd say it's overall one of bittersweet acceptance.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By TRACY L DALE on January 16, 2002
Format: Audio CD
Being a long-time Concrete Blonde fan, from their inception back in the latter '80's, I have nothing but good words to say. This album could have been trash and I would have given it at least 2.5 stars just out of principle - but, it's not trash, it's excellent. For the fan who knows their work, you'll find this album is a little "softer around the edges" than a lot of their previous work. The 2nd track on the album is reminiscent in energy of "100 Games of Solitaire", and that made me smile. This is good work, and it's incredibly excellent when you consider they've been out of commission for awhile. If you like Concrete Blonde, give this album the chance it deserves. It's on a small label, and I for one would like to see them come back to us with another album in the future. Plus, Johnette's voice is still in full form. They've still got it, be it a little suttler than previous efforts and on a smaller label, they've still got what it takes to stick to your ribs.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By "tallulah_lou" on January 16, 2002
Format: Audio CD
This album is a wonderful mix of rockers and ballads. It shows that concrete blonde has matured but not lost there edge. It is made up of the stuff that makes up all there albums. Love, freindship, comments about the state of the world. Violent is very chilling given the events of Sept 11. Roxy is catchy and fun. "When I WasA Fool is a telling and vulnerable song of the sort Johnette Napolitano is known for. My favorite is Take Me Home which seams to me heavy with atmosphere. The musicianship is good and the vocals are subtly beautiful.
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Steve Marshall on January 16, 2002
Format: Audio CD
After eight long years, Concrete Blonde (with all three original members) has just released a new CD. My initial impression of the disc was one of disappointment. However, after a few listens, the songs started to grow on me and aspects of the trademark Concrete Blonde sound began to shine through. Overall, the CD is fairly subdued. Aside from "When I Was a Fool," vocalist/bassist Johnette Napolitano seldom reaches the upper range of her voice.
The first single, "Roxy" gets things off to a nice start. Reminiscent of their biggest hit, "Joey," the song is a tribute to one of Napolitano's favorite bands, Roxy Music. Up next is "Violent"--a song that's both good and bad at the same time. Musically, it's a great tune. Guitarist James Mankey serves up some tasty fretwork on the song, but the lyrics are inexcusably bad. "You and me and we make three, k-i-s-s-i-n-g." Puh-lease... You would think that after all these years of writing that the band (I'm generalizing here because there are no explicit songwriting credits listed) could be able to come with something better than that.
"True, Part III" finds the band in their dark ballad mode, a features more of the classic Mankey guitar sound. Tracks like "Tonight" and "Inside / Outside" find the band taking a trip back in time to the esoteric feel of earlier tracks like "Scene of a Perfect Crime." Things move along pretty well until they get to "Valentine." They could have left this song and "Fried" off the CD and no one would miss them.
The last few Concrete Blonde albums have featured at least one track with somewhat of a flamenco sound, and this one continues in that vein with the exquisite "Your Llorona.
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