Ruby Throat is a collaboration between KatieJane Garside (of QueenAdreena) and Chris Whittingham (whom KatieJane spotted busking on the underground, apparently). Over the course of a year and a half they recorded this album which was released in 2007. Why review it now? Because they only released 400 copies in 2007 and now you can get your grubby paws on it, after a general online release.
The Ventriloquist doesn’t seem to break any new ground for Garside. The ethereal, haunting melodies and the gothic production will all be familiar to QueenAdreena fans. What’s different is that in Ruby Throat mode, Garside appears to be really concentrating on exactly that dark, quiet atmosphere and not the rasping indie rock that makes up most of her other work.
That atmosphere is perfectly captured in songs like ‘Swan and the Minotaur (Troubled Man)’ which describes KatieJane’s love for a swan-murdering rapist. Macabre, indeed. On other songs, like the title track, that atmosphere is undermined by the conjuring of hackneyed, semi-comic images – like a murdering Chuckyesque doll.
Because the duo have constrained themselves to this dramatic theme and the lion’s share of the music is just guitar the album never really develops from its initial beauty. It ends up blurring into a fog of high-pitched singing and sparse strumming – not helped by a 16 minute track half way through which is frankly nothing but musical masturbation.
Having said all of that, fans of Garside will really like this album – her amazing voice is on full show here, and it is at times genuinely haunting. There probably won’t be a scarier album released this year. But people who haven’t heard QueenAdreena would probably get more out of checking them out before this.
Words: Paul Malloy