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Rasputina - Frustration Plantation
Label: Instinct Records
Release: 2004

Tracklisting:
1. Doomsday Averted
2. Secret Message
3. Possum Of The Grotto
4. If Your Kisses Can't Hold The Man You Love
5. The Mayor
6. When I Count...
7. High On Life
8. Wicked Dickie
9. My Captivity By Savages
10. Saline The Salt Lake Queen
11. Oh, Injury
12. When I Was A Young Girl
13. Momma Was An Opium-Smoker
14. Nov.17dee
15. Girls' School
Frustration Plantation - Rasputina
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Two women, two cellos, one man. Corsets and Indian Headdresses.

There is no other band like Rasputina.

Frustration Plantation, the fourth album from Melora Creager and various associates, is slightly tinged with influences from the American South. "Doomsday Averted" is a lovely, swampy track that would have made a better album opener had there been more lyrics. Their uniquely dark takes on folk tunes "When I Was a Young Girl" and "Wicked Dickie" further this conclusion.

The cello is a gigantic, growling instrument in Creagerís hands, and there is no better example than the massively fuzzed-out "Possum of the Grotto." Her work is augmented by the percussive work of (now former) member Zoe Keating.

However, two things are conspicuously muted in Plantation Ė Melora's arresting vibrato, and electronic percussion. "Oh, Injury" finds her exploring the lower points of her vocal range with Ö interesting results. Compare anything on "The Lost and Found" to Jonathon TeBeestís organic-sounding drumwork on "Saline The Salt Lake Queen."

The albumís highlight is the dementedly danceable "Momma Was An Opium-Smoker," followed directly by "Nov. 17dee," which sounds as as if it was written and sung by a 4 year old (which it was). The track more or less goes to show how joyfully odd and slightly disturbing that the minds of children can be Ė in this case Melora's daughter Hollis Lane. An extended version of the song is on the bonus CD for the curious.

The album also returns to the Rasputina tradition of covering an old standard Ė this time it's an aggressive "If Your Kisses Canít Hold The Man You Love" (popularized by Sophie Tucker).

The more you deconstruct some of Creager's lyrics, the less sense they make, but the more they make you laugh. God only knows what the point of "When I Count" really is, but this would not be a Rasputina album without it. The spoken word "My Captivity By Savages" is, well, we hope itís not true, but itís still hilarious. "Girls School" switches viewpoints from schoolmaster to student, building to end the album in a minute and a half of lovely cacophony.

Frustration Plantation is a distinct entry into the Rasputina catalog, but perhaps not the best place to start Ė I still prefer the distorted, slightly gothic musings of "How We Quit the Forest." Still, itís more than worth a spin.

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