Similar Artists: The Call, Sparks, Lone Justice.
Recording year: IRS, 1993.
Concrete Blonde grew out of the Los Angeles post-punk club circuit that produced bands like X, Wall of Voodoo, and the Go-Go's, but it wasn't until 1987 that the band even recorded its first album. The group was founded by singer/songwriter/bassist Johnette Napolitano and guitarist Jim Mankey, who initially called themselves Dream 6 and released an EP. Their insistence on complete artistic control was off-putting to the major labels who took notice, however, and it wasn't until 1987 that the group signed to I.R.S. and changed its name to Concrete Blonde at the suggestion of labelmate Michael Stipe. Concrete Blonde's self-titled debut album betrayed the influence of the Pretenders, while 1989's Free was a tighter showcase for Napolitano's developing songwriting and produced a college radio hit with "God Is a Bullet."
After the demise of their original label, I.R.S., Concrete Blonde released Mexican Moon on Capitol in the fall of 1993. The band, once again, produced themselves with Sean Freehill, and Paul Thompson returned to the fold on drums after sitting out Walking in London due to immigration problems.
The album is a striking marriage of Johnette Napolitano's dark, lyrical imagery and the band's alternative-tinged pop sensibilities making it, perhaps, their most fully realized effort. "Jenny I Read" kicks things off with the tale of a chance encounter of a fallen, reclusive starlet. Guitarist James Mankey shows versatility playing acoustic and Spanish guitar on the dreamy title track and the wah-wah effects of the brooding "Jesus Forgive Me (For the Things I'm About to Say)." "Heal It Up" was the unsuccessful single but is a bracing number with a ferocious vocal performance by Napolitano. Despite the inspired playing, intelligent and insightful lyrics, and the crisp production, Mexican Moon failed to expand the group's audience and would prove to be their last release before breaking up.
Fields Of Haze... Underground for all.