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Black tape for a blue girl: 10 Neurotics (CD)

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  1. Sailor Boy | MP3 Clip | youtube Live Video
  2. Inch Worm | MP3 Clip
  3. Tell Me You’ve Taken Another | MP3 Clip
  4. The Perfect Pervert | MP3 Clip
  5. Marmalade Cat | MP3 Clip | youtube Video
  6. Love Song | MP3 Clip
  7. Rotten Zurich Cafe | MP3 Clip
  8. Militärhymne | MP3 Clip
  9. In Dystopia | MP3 Clip
  10. The Pleasure in the Pain | MP3 Clip | youtube Video
  11. I Strike You Down | MP3 Clip
  12. Caught by a Stranger | MP3 Clip
  13. Curious, Yet Ashamed | MP3 Clip
  14. Love of the Father | MP3 Clip

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“Emotionally charged, theatrical, bold, raucous, heartbreaking, and beautiful, 10 Neurotics is a grand and exciting musical direction for Black Tape for a Blue Girl. Traversing fresh musical ground including the evocative flavouring of Dark Cabaret, they never fully relinquish their well-known sensually provocative sound. Blacktape emerges that much more important for its willingness to fearlessly incorporate unexpected elements into its work. They add a stronger, more theatrical component; you feel as if you are watching a powerful stage show in motion. 10 Neurotics is a great album! It may be Blacktape’s best!” – Matt Rowe, Muscictap.net:

10 Neurotics reimagines the passion of Black Tape For A Blue Girl (and visionary founder / songwriter, Sam Rosenthal) in a rock / dark cabaret setting. Sam challenged himself to put the electronics and lushness aside; he wrote these songs on the acoustic guitar, an instrument he had never played before. The results bear a more considered approach to songwriting: structured, melodic and dare say even “traditional” in composition. It is a new approach to the mood and power for which Blacktape is known.

Featuring drum kit and bass for the first time in 20 years (courtesy of new band-member Brian Viglione of The Dresden Dolls & The Cliks), these fourteen songs are revealing first person narratives. These are stories so unnerving and personal that 10 Neurotics features an all-new line-up; the previous vocalists quit the group out of discomfort with the content.

Sam explains, “Many of the scenes take place in the fetish lifestyle: a culture of heightened sexuality, relationship dynamics, power and control. I set out to create an album that looks at our sexuality, obsessions and fetishes with a mature (rather than sensationalized) eye. Our life is a constant churning of desires, sometimes overtaking us – more often subverted, submerged and repressed. I wanted to directly confront reality: who are we when the disguise is stripped away? I wrote from real life as a way to plug directly into the core of pure experience without filtering it, I developed something genuinely fresh and vital.”

“These songs demanded a rock-n-roll drummer to be successful, a drummer who could rock out as well as play subtle and textural passages. I went for the best and asked Brian.” Impressed with the music, he quickly joined the band.

“Brian became much more involved than past band members, providing brilliant performances, insightful suggestions and co-producing the album. His enthusiasm reinforced my belief that I was onto something with this new direction. If I hesitated, Brian pushed me out of the safety net, ‘No man. Leave it in. Don’t hold back!’ Brian told me to take it to the edge, tell the stories I wanted to tell, use the images I wanted to use!”

The songs deal with a range of taboo topics: dominance/submission, furries, police state fetishists, pro-anna, exhibitionists, humiliation, self-destruction, cuckolding, and anonymous sex.

Sam looks at his characters non-critically without judgements or excuses for their actions. Like people in our real lives, they succumb to their urges and obsessions unaware of their place on the continuum from the erotic to the neurotic.

  • All-new band features Brian Viglione of The Dresden Dolls, vocalists Athan Maroulis ex-Spahn Ranch, Laurie Reade ex-Attrition & Nicki Jaine.
  • Guest vocal appearance by Lucas Lanthier of Cinema Strange on “Curious, Yet Afraid.”
  • Guest appearances from Elysabeth Grant (vocals on “I Strike You Down”), Michael Laird (percussion on “Caught by a Stranger”), Lisa Feuer (flute on “Tell Me You’ve Taken Another”) & Gregor Kitzis (violin on “Rotten Zurich Cafe”)
  • 10th studio album.
  • Deluxe digi-pak w/28-page NC-17 booklet. >
  • Weight .3 lbs
    Label

    Projekt / Trisol

    Release Year

    2009

    Format

    CD in DIgi-Pack w/ 28-page booklet

    Reviews

    1. Reviews Editor

      Review  –:

      A review from Triangle Waves Musica

      Well what can I say? Sam has done it again. Next time when I see his name on a recording I want a warning label stating: “Warning, this product might get you addicted. Please contact your doctor when you think it pushes you over the edge of musical madness.”

      First of all, the package. First impression is all that matters these days. When I visit my local record store I often go there without having a vision what I would like to buy. I want to see the package of a finished product and it should impress me. It should say “Here, this is a quality product so buy me!!” Especially in these days when people download like crazy. Of course as usual with Projekt releases the package is good! Cover which grabs the look and a nice booklet inside with pictures and lyrics. And we have some beautiful women on this planet!!

      Music is top notch as well. The album opens with a raw type of song called “Sailor Boy”. “Inch worm” is a track that grabs you by the throat as only a Black Tape song manages to do. Listen this on the headphone and you might end up Neurotic, so much is happening in it. “Tell me you’ve taken another” takes you to the other end of the spectrum with laid back music and has great vocal work from Athan. “The Perfect Pervert” is as creepy as you can have it with it’s bondage theme. And so far that’s just four songs. “Marmalade Cat” hits you like a ton of bricks with astonishing vocals from Laurie.

      Of course, when you see a track titled “Love Song” on a Black Tape for a Blue Girl release you know there is a catch.

      “I am useless, I’m pathetic. I’m afraid that’s it.”

      Ok, catch found, wonderful lyrics!

      “Rotten Zurich Cafe” is a wonderful Dark Cabaret type of track in which Nicki does the vocals. Creepy type of vocals but they fit well in the theme of the song.

      “Militärhymne” suits the name well with the opening trumpet, trombone and drums with on top of Laurie’s vocals. My favorite track of the album!

      “In Dystopia” is another well done dark cabaret type of song with Nicki on vocals.

      “And I’m gonna die out here in these fuckin’ woods”

      Also this track has a wonderful bass and drums done by Brian. I want to hear more of him, any hints available of other releases this guy plays on? (Hints found on the Projekt website!)

      “The Pleasure in the Pain” follows up with slightly changed sound of the drum work, but truth be told it fits the song perfectly. The song really opens up bombastically halfway through and the drum are brilliant.

      “I strike you down” is going a whole different way again in the wonderful spectrum of the music world. A bit more neofolk with Elysabeth Grant on vocals.

      “Caught by a Stranger” has Lauri on vocals. Theatrical as it should be with a nice psychedelic faded ending.

      “Curious Yet Ashamed” which continues in the dark cabaret influence which has the vocals of Lucas Lanthier, Athan & Lauri. Also great drum work again fitting perfectly within the song.

      “Love of the Father” has such strong lyrics. I would love to print them here for you guys but, as always, I’m very careful with copyrights.

      Theatrical, dark cabaret type of music and that’s just what I found in it. Impressive release which is a must for those who love dark cabaret/theatrical music floating in their living room. Impressed Sam, well done!

      I only have one complaint. Why doesn’t anyone over here want to support this sort of music in their store? Darnit, music like this should get a bigger shot towards people who dare to try something different. Rating: 95/100

    2. Reviews Editor

      Review  –:

      A review from The Deli

      Black Tape for a Blue Girl’s, “10 Neurotics” reads less like an album and more like a modern rock opera. Dark and mysterious in both tone and lyrics, the songs have a vintage feel that is somehow reminiscent of old-time cabaret with a vaudevillian twist. “10 Neurotics” feels theatric, epic, grand; it would seem more at home on a stage than in a record player. – Loren DiBlasi

    3. Reviews Editor

      Review  –:

      A review from The Big Takeover

      BLACK TAPE FOR A BLUE GIRL has long been considered a leading light in the so-called “darkwave” movement in goth rock. Like a lot of innovators, however, SAM ROSENTHAL (the act’s principal songwriter and sonic architect since the beginning) doesn’t fit so easily under the usual notions of a single genre – listening to an old BTFaBG album, with its classical songs structures and atmospheric arrangements, won’t bring to mind the same scene that spawned BAUHAUS, CHRISTIAN DEATH or SISTERS OF MERCY. Having said that, the band explored straightforward gothic rock on its last album Halo Star, and spends time with the burgeoning subgenre “dark cabaret” on its latest album 10 Neurotics.

      Despite its title, 10 Neurotics has fourteen songs and revolves around themes of alternative sexuality. Joined by vocalists ATHAN MAROULIS (SPAHN RANCH), LAURIE READE (ATTRITION) and dark cabaret pioneer NICKI JAINE, as well as DRESDEN DOLLS drummer BRIAN VIGLIONE as musical co-conspirator, Rosenthal digs into sexual practices not usually covered by your average episode of Desperate Housewives. With lush, minor key music that draws more from JACQUES BREL or COLE PORTER than anything overtly gothic or even rock, BTFaBG goes from public sex (“Caught By a Stranger”), to cuckolding (“Tell Me You’ve Taken Another”) to dominance and submission (“The Perfect Pervert,” “The Pleasure in the Pain”), even pondering the myriad of choices in the sexual arena (“Curious, Yet Ashamed”). There’s little explicit content here – even the nudes adoring the graphics would fit better in an art gallery than a girlie magazine. Rosenthal is clearly more interested in motivation and feel than detail.

      It’s not all pleasure, after all – Rosenthal also takes hard looks at anorexia (“Inch Worm”), abuse (“Love of the Father,” “I Strike You Down”) and self-esteem issues (“Love Song”). An intelligent guy and astute observer of human behavior, Rosenthal knows our romantic and sexual choices aren’t made in a vacuum – while there’s little of which to be ashamed, we should realize that our behavior has deeper meaning than superficial actions might indicate. Arguably that theme of prodding what lies beneath the surface is the engine driving Black Tape’s entire career, and 10 Neurotics, erotic nature aside, continues the story in rich, compelling detail. – Michael Toland

    4. Reviews Editor

      Review  –:

      A review from Side Line

      This new album from the American act is without any doubt a stand out piece of work from their whole discography. We’re miles away from their intimate and atmospheric debut though there are some remaining fragments of that era here and there. Sam Rosenthal probably ingested a lot of influences, sounds and ideas from the various bands of his Projekt-label so that he manages here to totally redefine his sound and grow from a shy and introverted musical project towards a totally matured and even provocative act. “10 Neurotics” is confirming the orientation announced with the two previous releases but here the recipe and cohesion are far better. Strangely they’ve never been that many guests (whether on vocals or music) as on this new release. The brilliant Athan Maroulis (Spahn Ranch) lend his crooner type of vocals to several tracks including “The Pleasure In The Pain” or the opener “Sailor Boy” (we’re not far from a rough Tom Waits on this one). Other artists featured are the innovative Brian Viglione (Dresden Dolls) who provides most of the drums as well as Laurie Reade (vocalist with Attrition) or Nicki Jane (and her very, very particular voice on the cabaret-like “Rotten Zurich Café”). Also noticeable is Lucas Lanthier (Cinema Strange) who gives a post-punk touch on “Curious, Yet Ashamed.” A very rich and beautiful album that will please all their fans but also open them some more doors… Rating: 8/9

    5. Reviews Editor

      Review  –:

      A review from Sepiachord

      the soundtrack to a cabaret hosted by Caligula
      It’s been a long time since Lou Reed encouraged us to “take a walk on the wild side”.


      Not surprisingly it’s another New Yorker, Sam Rosenthal, who gives us a road map for our lascivious explorations: Black Tape for a Blue Girl’s newest full-length 10 Neurotics.

      If you haven’t checked in on this group in awhile you may be in for a surprise. It’s still the result of Rosenthal’s singular vision, but he’s razed the group in order to rebuild it. Sam has carefully created a collection of songs exploring a wide variety of kink and perversion, and to perform these songs he’s assembled a new band. Up front are vocalists Athan Maroulis (Spahn Ranch) and Laurie Reade (Attrition). Most notably Sam’s found a very puissant partner in actually arranging his songs: Brian Viglione (Dresden Dolls).

      Vigilione doesn’t exactly bring “the rock,” but his skills allow Black Tape for a Blue Girl to explore a wider variety of sound and style. Each tale of lust and desire has its own sound, and that is what really makes this set work.

      The album kicks off with the Tom Waits-ish doom waltz of “Sailor Boy.” If you didn’t know that the band had changed you do now. Dirty sound, dirty SUBject matter, your mouth should go a little dry wondering if you’re ready for the rest of the journey. This song is like a road sign that reads “Abandon purity and hypocrisy all who enter here.” Later in the album the talented Nicki Jaine sings “Rotten Zurch Cafe.” It comes from similar territory as “Sailor Boy” musically but is slower, more melancholy. And beautiful. By the second number it’s clear that gone are the days of darkwave for BTfaBG. “Inch Worm” is a confessional that turns to chant with the chorus, a tale of obsession over body issues. This song seems created to ask us what is pretty, is pretty even good? “Tell Me You’ve Taken Another” is the most strikingly different of the pieces offered here. Its tale of a willing, no begging, cuckold may be a bit much for some, but musically it comes from left field. It evokes the 70s French pervy pop of Serge Gainsbourg. I love this little sleazy listening number.

      The rock does come, eventually. Viglione’s drumming brings a pounding urgency to “The Pleasure in the Pain.” This song is *honestly* sinister, desperate and the rock bombast acts as an excellent counter point and emphasis. Track 13, “Curious Yet Ashamed,” is the partner to “Pleasure in the Pain.” It comes out of the speakers like the soundtrack to a cabaret hosted by Caligula. The desperation here is even more palable, the vocal delivery almost crazed. Electronic music may be able to sound kinky, but “Curious Yet Ashamed” proves that rock is better at making music sound *dirty*.

      The songs aren’t all about dominance and submission (though you can understand a frequent returning to this theme: so many kinks involve issues of control and power even if they’re not obviously dom/sub situations). If furries ever wanted an anthem they could do worse than “Marmalade Cat.”

      10 Neurotics has a level of perverse exploration that falls somewhere above Soft Cell and the Normal, but never gets quite as graphic as Coil. Exploring sexual subcultures can be a harrowing experience. It can leave you blushing or short of breath, but it will definitely get your attention. With these tales of desperation, degradation and dirty whispers Sam Rosenthal commands our attention, controls it. By revealing his desires and setting them to compelling music he’s illustrated not only what he wants but what he’s capable of. If confidence is the ultimate aphrodisiac than Sam Rosenthal has it in spades.

      Highly recommended.

    6. Reviews Editor

      Review  –:

      A review from Ondarock

      Ultimo capitolo di un ideale trittico sul sesso e il desiderio, 10 Neurotics segna il ritorno dell’inestimabile progetto di cui Sam Rosenthal è mente e anima sin dal 1986. Ma se nei precedenti capitoli della trilogia il concept “carnale” era mediato ora da un’austera aura religiosa (This Lush Garden Within), ora da un approccio panico e romantico (il capolavoro As One Aflame Laid Bare By Desire), 10 Neurotics si getta nudo e crudo in un marasma di storie, incontri e visioni erotiche.

      Affollato di ambienti e personaggi reali o realistici, calato in un sottobosco feticista dove dominanti e dominati, vanesi e repressi si confessano vicendevolmente, 10 Neurotics è l’album che marca un profondo cambiamento nella forma e nella sostanza del progetto Black Tape. Anzitutto la line-up completamente rivoluzionata che Rosenthal ha riunito per l’occasione, con i nuovi cantanti Laurie Reade (ex-Attrition) e Athan Maroulis (già ospite in due brani di The Scavenger Bride) e soprattutto l’apporto decisivo di Brian Viglione, già batterista prodigio dei Dresden Dolls ora impegnato in prima linea con i Black Tape nel tessere trame e arrangiamenti di questo lavoro.

      Proprio la presenza della metà maschile dei Dresden Dolls introduce il drastico cambiamento espressivo adottato da Rosenthal per questa sua nuova fatica. Dimenticate la profondità dei droni gotico-ambientali, ora la musica dei Black Tape è votata a quello che Rosenthal stesso ha definito dark-cabaret, mistura di burlesque, gotico, folk, rock e quant’altro. Avvisaglie ce n’erano da tempo: le ripetute lodi di Rosenthal a gruppi quali Spiritual Front, Cinema Strange e gli stessi Dresden Dolls e il suo non troppo fortunato side-project Revue Noir facevano intendere che il musicista americano fosse sempre più attratto da una forma musicale lontana da ciò a cui per anni ci aveva abituato.

      Lo sforzo e l’attesa sono però ripagati solo in parte: la nuova forma non molto si addice a Sam, che dà l’impressione di aver smarrito sicurezza e ispirazione, muovendosi in questo album con l’aria di qualcuno che si sforzi di imparare e padroneggiare una lingua straniera. Pezzi come la sgraziata opener “Sailor Boy” o “The Pleasure In The Pain” convincono così poco o nulla. Il gioco riesce meglio quando brandelli della fu magia dei Black Tape riescono a emergere dal proscenio: la magnifica “Inch Worm” ne è la miglior prova; melodia toccante e avvincente, eterei incastri canori.

      L’auto-cover di “Tell Me You’ve Taken Another” (da As One Aflame…) è il godibile manifesto del nuovo corso, mentre gli ospiti Lucas Lanthier (Cinema Strange e Deadfly Ensemble) e Nicki Jaine (cantante dei Revue Noir) si trovano a loro agio rispettivamente nei chiaroscuri di “Curious Yet Ashamed” e nei drappeggi weimariani dell’elegante “Rotten Zurich Cafè”. Ma è significativo come a suscitare vera emozione siano alla fine due numeri più saldamenti legati allo stile abituale dei Black Tape, vale a dire le ipnotiche “The Perfect Pervert” e “Marmalade Cat”.

      Ambizioso, freddo e spiazzante, 10 Neurotics si fa ammirare più che altro per il coraggio mostrato da Rosenthal nel dare una tale e decisa sterzata a quello che era uno standard di qualità tanto apprezzato quanto insuperabile. Onore alla sua onestà e alla voglia di mettersi in gioco, ma la consueta felicità narrativa dei Black Tape si smarrisce nell’incertezza stilistica di un nuovo percorso le cui basi sembrano ancora poco solide. -Maura Roma

    7. Reviews Editor

      Review  –:

      A review from Music TAP

      The mark of a resilient band is its ability to expand on its style in such a way so as to be consistently progressive and yet maintain the core of their sound. This is what Black Tape for a Blue Girl has achieved with their monumentally effectual new album, 10 neurotics. The main component of Black Tape for a Blue Girl is Sam Rosenthal, who has striven to improve upon his band’s original, gothically-tinged classical element. As his musical direction changes, so does the band.

      10 Neurotics is emotionally charged, theatrical, bold, raucous, heartbreaking, and beautiful, and is a grand and exciting musical direction for Black Tape for a Blue Girl. Traversing fresh musical ground including the evocative flavouring of Dark Cabaret, they never fully relinquish their well-known sensually provocative sound.

      The opening track is a solid venture into that cabaret-styled genre with its theatrically raucous vocals and its piano-led cabaret sound. Blacktape emerges that much more important for its willingness to fearlessly incorporate unexpected elements into its work. They add a stronger, more theatrical component; you feel as if you are watching a powerful stage show in motion.

      As the album moves forward, you’ll find that the music has not so much moved away from their known neo-classicism but has evolved. Maintaining the sensually provocative music that Black Tape helped to pioneer, Black Tape now adds a stronger, more theatrical component that thrusts it onto a new stage of awareness. Looking at relationships and their chains, desires and their paths of destruction, and the rawness of emotions, Rosenthal has outfitted Black Tape for a Blue Girl with the power of an interactive stage show, yet still delivering on the promise of a metamorphosing band with its use of operatic vocals, flute, and gorgeous keyboard treatments. Added to the sound are drums and bass that changes the sound of Black Tape for a Blue Girl for the better.

      10 Neurotics is a great album! It may be Blacktape’s best! Rating: 4.5/5

    8. Reviews Editor

      Review  –:

      A review from Mick Mercer

      The advance press release for this made clear that the subject matter Sam Rosenthal had thrown himself into, immersing himself in a world of observational lyrical sin, had resulted in former singers associated with Black Tape For a Blue Girl declining the opportunity to be involved. It is certainly an unusual and refreshing album for its more forthright musical tone, kissing goodbye to the ethereal atmosphere and carrying on through the Revue Noir experiment into more traditional sounds. He has a band who include some stalwarts of old such as Nicki Jaine, Michael Laird and Athan Maroulis, with Dresden Doll’s Brian Viglione and Laurie Reade from Attrition leaping abroad, and Lucas Lanthier found among the luggage on this creepy voyage.,/p>

      Sam says, “I set out to create an album that looks at our sexuality, obsessions and fetishes with a mature (rather than sensationalized) eye. Our life is a constant churning of desires, sometimes overtaking us – more often subverted, submerged and repressed. I wanted to directly confront reality: who are we when the disguise is stripped away? I wrote from real life as a way to plug directly into the core of pure experience without filtering it, I developed something genuinely fresh and vital.” That, or he wants to rock out with his cock out. (I hope they work a cover of ‘The Internet Is For Porn’ into their live set, because this isn’t some po-faced encounter.)

      There is disturbing material to consider but just how controversial the subject matter here actually is I’m not sure. Having always been supportive of people’s fetish-related confessions and interests when doing my books, knowing it did represent a growing trend during certain times, whether that was the fetish dress of the 90’s, the ‘furry’ developments earlier this decade, or whatever might be poking through these days, none of it has ever been of any interest to me. I actually find it hard to stop regarding such things as strangely ludicrous, so I can’t imagine the passing listener would hear a song and either find topics alluring or repulsive. (Mostly.) True, some might having decided in advance that whenever they approach any album they require the full blueprints, of lyrics, personal testimonies, weather conditions when recordings took place, several sharp HB pencils, graph paper, set square and an attractive hat, but these people are very rare. When dealing with themes of body image, body abuse, body worship, is it really that challenging? A truly controversial album would probably be where someone admitted to a delirious interest in rape, incest, bestiality and necrophilia, sometimes all during the same family Christmas party, with Miss Marple in attendance to give it that much-needed frisson, and I can only hope nothing like that ever crosses my path.

      Oh, what’s the album like? Read on diligent one, read on….

      Actually packaging first. The booklet is so luscious it smells. It’s gloss. The cover shot of a crouching girl with the bad spots touching a radiator? I don’t know what’s she represents, but there’s a nude cover as well, in certain territories, as well as a luxury booklet with beguiling imagery.

      ‘Sailor Boy’ is a rollicking, lolloping rasping, gnarled encounter with someone caught in the old master/slave relationship and barking dementedly, as Athan swaggers, and you can sing along. ‘Inch Worm’ is also absurdly slippery, slinky and catchy, Laurie purring proudly and this one is apparently ‘pro-ana’ which is an anorexia thing? Would I have known if someone hadn’t told me? I doubt it. The song has almost an old school fantasy feel rather than anything seedy, slipping into the surreal, and delivered with scrupulously sublime melodic sensibilities.

      ‘Tell Me You’ve Taken Another’ which concerns a man who likes being cuckolded clearly won’t outrage anyone, although the fact the term cuckholded is still around might, but the smooth throwback to 80’s crooning which wouldn’t have been out of place in Glenn Glegory’s mouth, is bound to impress. It’s quite beautiful, and the addition of Brian Viglione comes into its own with his relaxed drumming strength and succulent bass, Lisa Feuer also reappearing with some chaste flute.

      ‘The Perfect Pervert’ sees the mood darken while actually becoming lighter, as people ‘play non-consensual’ Laurie and Athan tripping over somewhat clumsy lyrics and really it’s all rather embarrassing. It sounds sweet musically, but the words are sixth former wank. ‘My hand makes contact with your skin, I push you down, I plunge within’? Oh, God, they’ve gone and woken Hugh Hefner. Here he comes, dressing gown flapping with excitement.

      ‘Marmalade Cat’ covers furries, although someone singing about being a cat needn’t necessarily go so far as someone believing they’re a cat when dressing up, and I never considered all furries have a fetishistic attitude, more a tribute of sorts, but I could be wrong. It’s not like I ever look too deeply. There’s a cool gloomy post-punk aura about this one. Ponderous but uncoiling with a tremulous ache. The plainer acoustic ‘Love Song’ doesn’t paint a particularly happy picture of a relationship but beyond that I don’t know where we’ve gone with Laurie’s depiction of a dismal character.

      ‘Rotten Zurich Café’ finds Nikki back in swaying, haughty cabaret tones, and again someone’s created a bad violent, dismissive example, but it’s vague and decayed.

      ‘Militärhymne’ is a mesmerising little slice of sound, with some warmly rising vocal noise, and deceptively inspiring, while the dark, doomed ‘In Dystopia’ is only marred by the spoken end effectively repeating the same words when lines could have gradually lessened in length. It’s a tale of intentional suffering, I guess.

      ‘The Pleasure In The Pain’ covers the same territory, with people accepting abuse, and Athan juggling clunky words skilfully. A full-blooded post-punk majesty unfurls and it’s a surprise it all seems so short. The delicate ‘I Strike You Down’ just confused me, as I had no idea who was doing what to whom, or whether it was intentional, as Elsyabeth’ Grant’s vocals swirled around the sparse setting. ‘Caught By A Stranger’ is another exquisitely ghostly blend of the exotic and the moody, but not the erotic for this boy. It concerns exhibitionism but I’m lulled by the knobbly percussion and weird remote sounds weaving their way through and behind Laurie’s smoky vocals. ‘Curious, Yet Ashamed’ is slightly mental, Lucas trembling with excitement and dementia, over panoply of pervy possibilities.

      We end with something awful in ‘Love Of The Father’ but not in any ineffectual way. Anything involving child abuse will always be upsetting, and here we have something strikingly painful, through the eyes of a child, denying God through the obvious wrongs of his situation, with a controlled, plaintive vocal delivery and a tensile backing, creating an image of desolation and despair which is seriously powerful. It also has an open-ended aspect in that you don’t know if you’re also hearing of further debasement or simply the knock-on effect of abuse then creating unstable relationships further down the line. Either way it’s a bit of sledgehammer to the senses after the disguised and dimpled debauchery of previous tracks.

      With the exception of ‘The Perfect Pervert’ this is a compelling album and one which marks a totally modern Black Tape which can reach out to a new audience almost, as well as carrying existing followers along into new areas, just the way Ataraxia do with the unpredictability of their output. The question I guess we have to ask is will Sam ever now go back into the shadows, or is he fully out there in the light, ready to rawk? Well, not that far perhaps, no Sigue Sigue Sputnik outfits being prepared, but you know what I mean.

      There may be some odd themes here, for some, but really it’s a stylish collection of songs every bit as evocative as they may be provocative, and I think that’s what interests us most, isn’t it?

    9. Reviews Editor

      Review  –:

      A review from Losing Today

      Sam Rosenthal rinnova gran parte dei Black Tape For A Blue Girl per il loro decimo album in studio, “10 Neurotics”. I nuovi arrivati sono Brian Viglione (The Dresden Dolls), Athan Maroulis (ex-Spahn Ranch), Laurie Reade (ex-Attrition) e Nicki Jaine. Il suono del gruppo ne risente sposando il proprio baricentro intorno a quel dark-cabaret già celebrato in questi ultimi anni dalla Projekt. Le nuove canzoni di Rosenthal sono più fisiche rispetto al passato, e in qualche caso hanno davvero poco da spartire con la spettrale anima wave dei vecchi BTFABG. Ci pensano Athan Maroulis (ex-Spahn Ranch, già presente sull’album dei BTFABG “The Scavenger Bride”) e Laurie Reade a ristabilire ponti con l’universo darkwave durante la sontuosa “The Perfect Pervert”. La stessa Laurie canta poi una delle canzoni più belle in scaletta, “Marmalade Cat”. C’è anche la sensuale Nicki Jaine su un paio di canzoni. Altri musicisti coinvolti nelle registrazioni sono Lucas Lanthier dei Cinema Strange su “Curious, Yet Afraid”, Elysabeth Grant su “I Strike You Down”, Michael Laird degli Unto Ashes su “Caught by a Stranger”, Lisa Feuer su “Tell Me You’ve Taken Another” e Gregor Kitzis dei Voltaire su “Rotten Zurich Cafe”. Edizione curatissima in un elegante digipak. Copertina ancor più dell’originale quella dell’edizione europea curata dalla Trisor. – Roberto Mandolini

    10. Reviews Editor

      Review  –:

      A review from Jim Sullivan Ink

      Brian Viglione – the former Bostonian and drummer for Dresden Dolls (if it still exists) – finds himself in a new rock/dark cabaret project, Sam Rosenthal’s Black Tape For A Blue Girl, which headlines the Cantab Lounge Thursday Nov. 5 (Support: Boston’s Dreamchild is second on the bill, following MELT. Expect more dark cabaret and nightmarish visions from the Grand Guignol inspired duo. Faebotica has the closing spot. The doors are at 8 and the show costs $10). Viglione is not just the percussionist here. He also plays guitar, bass and piano, but perhaps more importantly co-arranged and co-produced the album along with Rosenthal and Martin Bisi.

      What Viglione brings to the 20-year-old group on the new disc, 10 Neurotics, is drums and bass – meaning Black Tape – essentially a new band now – slides somewhat toward the rock band world. But just somewhat, sort of like Tom Waits or Serge Gainsbourg or Beat Circus. There’s strange beauty and gloomy darkness, compulsion, revulsion and decadence. As former Spahn Ranch vocalist Athan Maroulis sings in “Tell Me You’ve Taken Another,” a song of betrayal, “Yet there is a painful joy.” In “Sailor Boy,” Maroulis sings of losing his feeling, his need for his lover, the result being I “lose myself in this puddle of drugs.”

      
Rosenthal, who handles the electronics, words and music, says, “Many of the scenes take place in the fetish lifestyle: a culture of heightened sexuality, relationship dynamics, power and control. Naked and honest, they lie along the continuum from the erotic to the neurotic. I wrote from real life as a way to plug directly into the core of pure experience without filtering it. I developed something genuinely fresh and vital. These are poeple I have met, dated or created.”
 Maroulis handles most of the male vocals; Laruie Reade and Nicki Jaine handle the female vocals. And, yes, Rosenthal and company are creating a charged, sometimes spooky, very sexualized, male/female dynamic. (There’s some stylishly provocative photos included in the CD insert booklet, too.)

      Black Tape for a Blue Girl does not bang you over the head. It insinuates its way into your brain and creates this world of pleasure and pain.

    11. Reviews Editor

      Review  –:

      A review from iKecht

      Black Tape For A Blue Girl, de band rond Sam Rosenthal van Projekt Records, is inmiddels al sinds 1986 actief. In die tijd leverder ze 10 albums af, waarvan dit 10 Neurotics dus de laatste is. De constant wisselende bezetting van de band heeft zich ook hier weer verder doorgezet. Nieuw zijn bijvoorbeeld drummer Brian Viglione (Dresden Dolls) en zangeres Laurie Reade (Attrition).

      Ook de muziek heeft zich weer vernieuwd. Begon het ooit als darkwave-act, brachten ze al ambient, nu zijn ze over op een mix van dark-cabaret en rock. De boodschap en toon blijft echter hetzelfde, heftige emoties en gevoelens die je direct raken, over je heen trekken. Waar je wel aan moet geloven kortom.

      En ik kan niet anders zeggen dan dat ze dat weer goed doen. Het is even wennen om Black Tape ineens weer van stijl te horen verschieten, maar de muziek blijft hangen en doet je nogmaals willen luisteren. Dus daar is helemaal niets mis mee. Bekijk daarbij dan ook nog eens het mooie begeleidende boekje en je hebt weer een topalbum.

      Voor hen die de muziek graag benoemen in termen van andere bands dan? Lastig, misschien nog het best een iets minder folk, iets meer rock versie van Ordo Rosarius? Maar oordeel zelf ook op basis van de clip die ze bij het album maakten voor het nummer “The Pleasure In The Pain”.

    12. Reviews Editor

      Review  –:

      A review from Grave Concerns

      Black Tape for a Blue Girl has been making music for many years. Spearheaded by Projekt.com master Sam and crew. The latest- 10 Neurotics…can we say…JUST That! Spooky, freaky, silly, NEUROTIC tunes. “Sailor Boy” a haunted, drunken sailor tune with beautiful yet eeerie guitar licks strumin by the sea. “It’s funny it’s funny I say” whee. Into my favorite “Rotten Zurich Cafe”. Picture Angelica Huston with a long cigarette on stage doing caberet at 3am with violins and piano… voila. This is the amazing fare you get and it’s twisted and dark, and also campy goth/ethereal fun. – Jules Cohen

    13. Reviews Editor

      Review  –:

      A review from Gothic Beauty

      After a hiatus to work on other projects, Sam Rosenthal returns with a large step in a different direction. Intended for a mature audience with an open mind, this album directly explores the fetish lifestyle and its myriad of relationships, which often center around control. Fans may be surprised to find a new line up including Brian Viglione from The Dresden Dolls, Athan Maroulis of Spahn Ranch, Laurie Reade of Attrition, Nicki Jaine and even a guest appearance from Lucas Lanthier of Cinema Strange. This makes sense for an artist such as Sam who wants to keep his music fresh and multi-dimensional. With this change of crew, the sound is noticeably different with more of a rock sound. however, the story-telling aspect of Black Tape is still there. – Curse

    14. Reviews Editor

      Review  –:

      A review from Glasswerk

      Sam Rosenthal has released his next album on his very own Projekt record label.

      Whilst the label likes to delve into the gothic and darkwave subcultures of music, “Black Tape for a Blue Girl” represents something of a variety. Whilst we begin with the cabaret sound of “Sailor Boy” which captures the masquerade pantomime of the heave-ho folk music.

      Not sticking around here the album delves into different sounds. Female vocals take over here and there, the pastoral creeps in and yes the darker ambient side of music is very much present throughout. Some tunes dare to become sound scapes themselves (Marmalade Cat) which is ingenious in creating an album that has many reflective surfaces.

      “Rotten Zurich Café” is a tonally beautiful song; swaying too and fro with downtrodden vocals to boot. As the album progresses you can just about visualise the sepia tones coming through the blend of vocal and musical stylistics. From opera, brass, string, wind and percussion – the band manage to capture masterful ballads. The sound work on each song too is also noteworthy. Full of sensual, erotic and fetish imagery, “10 Neurotics” is a creation for the dark, and artistic of mind.

    15. Reviews Editor

      Review  –:

      A review from Erebos Teatro (spanish)

      Nuevo y flamante album de esta prolifica banda que desde 1986, nos viene deleitando con su belleza musical arraigada en el darkwave, ethereal y gothic neoclasico. Lo interesante de este proyecto encabezado por Sam Rosenthal, compositor, productor y fundador del prestigioso sello Projeckt Records, es que la banda permanecio a traves de las decadas por reinventarse a si misma.

      Sam conto con la colaboracion de artistas de peso en la escena musical como Brian Viglione (The Dresden Dolls), Nicki Jaine (Revue Noir), Lucas Lanthier (Cinema Strange) y Athan y Laurie desplegando su arte vocal.

      Esta fusion de magnificos artistas, sumada a la evolucion evidente de la banda, dio como resultado un album suntuoso y brillante, alternando las tipicas melodias oscuras, con el aura refrescante del dark cabaret en su textura mas nostalgica y profunda.

      Desde el primer tema, se percibe una fuerza mayor que en trabajos anteriores, con incorporacion de sonidos electronicos y percusion que otorgan un ritmo certero. Sin perder el halo etereo, el transcurso del album, nos invita al deleite maximo, creando un escenario colmado de imagenes, basado en un sentimiento provocador, erotico, pasional y teatral.

      Las letras, todas escritas por Sam, hablan del deseo, juegan con la conciencia, las pasiones, el fetichismo, el amor anonimo, profundizando en las relaciones amorosas y sus ataduras.

      El arte fotografico del booklet deja en claro, que estamos inmersos en una obra teatral, en que cada escena, esta representada por la atmosfera musical precisa, y la comprometida interpretacion de cada uno de los cantantes.

      Conociendo la obra completa de la banda, desde sus comienzos hasta la actualidad, puedo afirmar certeramente que estamos ante la obra maestra consagrada de Black Tape for a Blue Girl. Maravilloso e imprescindible.

      Mis canciones favoritas: Sailor Boy, Inch Worm, Rotten Zurich Cafe, The Pleasure in the Pain, Curious, Yet Ashamed

    16. Reviews Editor

      Review  –:

      A review from Erebos Teatro (english)

      Brand-new album from this prolific band, whose since 1986, is delighting us with their musical beauty rooted in darkwave, gothic ethereal and neoclassic. The interesting thing about this project headed by Sam Rosenthal, composer, producer and founder of the prestigious label Projekt Records, the band is that it remained throughout the decades to reinvent itself.

      Sam had the collaboration of artists of weight on the music scene as Brian Viglione (The Dresden Dolls), Nicki Jaine (Revue Noir), Lucas Lanthier (Cinema Strange) and Athan and Laurie displaying his vocal art.

      This fusion of magnificent artists, coupled with the evolution of the band, resulting in a sumptuous and brilliant album, the typical dark melodies alternating with the refreshing aura of dark cabaret in texture and deeply nostalgic.

      Since the first issue, we see a greater force than in previous works, incorporating electronic sounds and percussion that give accurate pace. Without losing the ethereal aura, during the album invites us to delight maximum, creating a stage full of images, based on provocative, erotic, passionate and theatrical feelings.

      The letters, all written by Sam, speaks of desire and play upon the conscience, the passions, fetishism, anonymous love and deepen their love relationships and bonds.

      The photographic art of the booklet makes clear, we are immersed in a play in which each scene is represented by the musical atmosphere precise, and engaging interpretation of each of the singers.

      Knowing the complete works of the band from its beginnings to the present, I can rightly say that this is the masterpiece of Black Tape for a Blue Girl. Wonderful and essential.

      My favorite songs: Sailor Boy, Inch Worm, Rotten Zurich Cafe, The Pleasure in the Pain, Curious, Yet Ashamed

    17. Reviews Editor

      Review  –:

      A review from Devolution

      New York based and fronted by the illustrious, charismatic and ever morphing Sam Rosenthal, Black Tape For A Blue Girl have come up trumps with their uncensored and highly creative concept that has resulted in taking on its own life form and became known as “10 Neurotics.” This fourteen track love abuse hate death and lust coated gift is an uncompromised theatrical and dark cabaret offering which has an extremely stark and eerie underlying twist complementing the gothic tinges throughout the songs. Sam recruited the talent, inspiration and honestly of Brian Viglione of The Dresden Dolls who not only played drums to help bring Sam’s vision to life but also co-produced the album. Each song is more like a diary entry or story that is read aloud and brought vividly to life for our unsuspecting ears leaving you feeling as though you are an accomplice to murder or have been drawn in against your will to witness a dirty secret that you must never tell anyone which is never more so apparent than on the haunting tracks “The Perfect Pervert (Purity)” and album opener “Sailor Boy.” Despite the fact that Sam’s original band members suddenly quit feeling that they could not or would not pull these characters off, I think that those who stepped in to aid Sam’s artistic prophecy have certainly done him and the songs absolute justice. – Nickie

    18. Reviews Editor

      Review  –:

      A review from Darkroom

      “Halo Star”, poi cinque anni di silenzio: questo è l’intervallo che Sam Rosenthal si è riservato prima di tornare sul mercato con un nuovo lavoro, confezionato in casa con la Projekt per il suo gioiello più importante: i Black Tape For A Blue Girl. Un lustro occorso per capire cosa serviva per non cullarsi sugli allori di “Remnants Of A Deeper Purity”, lo stesso “Halo Star” e tanti altri album che negli anni (oltre venti, ricordando il debut del 1986 “The Rope”) lo hanno consegnato alla storia del goth prima americano, poi mondiale. Una carriera densa nei suoni propositi percorrendo la difficile strada collaterale del non omologarsi, ma vincere elaborando quelle tipiche orchestrazioni rarefatte sature di atmosfere nebbiose, in cui l’elettronica, quando regna, è elaborata ad altissimi livelli di finezza minimale e partecipativa, unito all’intimo e fragile abbandono romantico, negli anni aiutato dalle voci indimenticabili di più singer dall’ugola felice e dal carattere interpretativo. Dopo tanti lavori Mr. Rosenthal sente il bisogno di variare i percorsi mediali (uguale processo in casa Projekt, e non è un caso forse, affrontato da Michael Laird ed il suo ‘rimescolare’ le carte per gli Unto Ashes) ed il suono, influenzato (o influenzatore) dalle nuove personalità che entrano nel roster della sua label. Katzenjammer Kabarett in primis, teatrali eredi di un post-punk datato ma non del tutto esaurito nel proporre suoni, così come le nuove vie dell’acustica ‘dreamy’ e shoegaze, frammenti importanti da un nuovo modo di vivere la musica oscura. In “10 Neurotics” tutto ciò trova spazio, ed il fresco esistere dei Black Tape For A Blue Girl, pur continuando l’esplorazione dell’eros (stavolta quello crudo, diretto e fine a sé stesso), perde gli onirismi passati acquistando una diversa concretezza, sensazione peraltro percepita nel parlarvi del promo “Quadranotics – A Sampling Of Songs From 10 Neurotics”, antecedente l’uscita di questo full-lenght. Entra in scuderia Brian Viglione, e nel suo temporaneo distacco dai Dresden Dolls seduce Rosenthal offrendogli i mondi prosaici del platealismo gotico, ma solo in “Sailor Boy” il cabaret di “10 Neurotics” è così palese. Piuttosto una teatrale riscoperta dei suoni perduti negli anni in cui Sam iniziava il suo cammino artistico: così “Rotten Zurich Cafe”, tra gli arrangiamenti di violino di Gregor Kitzis e la voce di Nicki Jane (entrambi membri del side-project Revue Noir di cui fa parte lo stesso Rosenthal), è simile alle lunari performance dei Bauhaus di “The Spy In The Cab” o dei momenti indimenticabili di “The Sky’s Gone Out”. Sulla stessa direttrice “Curious, Yet Ashamed”, guarda caso con Lucas Lanthier (Cinema Strange e The Deadfly Ensemble, per chi non lo sapesse), che diventa una moderna evocazione del suono tipico del primo Rozz Williams di “Deathwish” o dei Virgin Prunes di “The Moon Looked Down And Laughed”. Il classico sound etno-gotico di tante tracce lasciate in passato (in ciò almeno parzialmente eredi dei Dead Can Dance) rivive solo in “Caught By A Stranger”, complice la bellissima voce dell’ex-Attrition di Laurie Reade, le partiture di Steve Roach (altro ‘puledro’ di lusso della scuderia statunitense) e l’apporto dell’amico Michael Laird, seduto nel ritmare il brano alla batteria. “10 Neurotics” è davvero polimorfico, e forse non tutti hanno capito l’elevato valore rappresentativo di un goth che si evolve e non ricicla: in questo l’omaggio indiretto ai suoni tipici di casa Prikosnovénie è una perla di folk etereo nel brano “Tell Me You’ve Taken Another”. Sam si impossessa di un patrimonio di canto tipicamente femminile reso celebre dai Flëur come dalle texane Mirabilis, dai Caprice come da tante altre regine del fatato mondo acustico. “Militärhymne” è invece sublime nel porgersi come marcia funerea, lirica nei cori, affranta nello spirito, tra fiati e cadenze dimesse. Abbiamo dovuto attendere cinque anni, e infine il tempo ci riconsegna Sam Rosenthal sotto un aspetto sicuramente diverso, ma che riesce ancora a stupirci: “10 Neurotics” è un dischetto da scoprire traccia dopo traccia, ascolto dopo ascolto, trovandone l’anima nei testi contenuti nel libretto del bellissimo digibook. Raffinato nella cover eroticamente diafana: acquistatelo senza soffermarvi troppo su quel che dicono quei detrattori che vorrebbero Black Tape For A Blue Girl sempre simile a sé stesso o che, troppo sbrigativamente, etichettano “10 Neurotics” come un semplice lavoro di neo-dark cabaret, attribuendo un ruolo eccessivo alla presenza di Viglione. Le radici di questo album sono lontane nel tempo, in anni in cui i ‘mostri sacri’ del dark brillavano e Sam muoveva i primi passi nel panorama underground. Questo ‘manufatto’ lo riallinea a quella schiera di colossi a cui Rosenthal appartiene ora più che mai, guadagnandosi sul campo gli allori, lavorando da anni per far sì che la musica che abbiamo possa sempre disporre di una torre di vedetta anche oltreoceano… – Nicola Tenani. Rating: 8/10

    19. Reviews Editor

      Review  –:

      A review from Carpe Nocturne

      10 Neurotics, the newest Black Tape for a Blue Girl release, takes a deep look into the bottomless black abyss of human sexuality, obsessions, and fetishes and dares to bring the terrible truths out from the dark and into the light.

      The harbingers of these shady actualities are the wonderful Sam Rosenthal, Brian Viglione, Athan Maroulis, Laurie Reade and Nicki Jaine. Their fourteen-track rock/dark cabaret album explores even the farthest reaches of sexuality and fetish without being crass or vulgar lyric-wise. As for the overall musical style, it is certainly a departure from what Black Tape for a Blue Girl fans might be used to, with style, pace, and influences varying as much from song to song as sexuality does from person to person. All of this is brought together and expressed perfectly in the deceptively simple cover art of this wonderfully well thought-out and presented album.

      Overall, the effect 10 Neurotics leaves on you is that of someone wrenching your insides out and thereby revealing your darkest truths to you, then spitting them out in your face. Secretly, though, you love every awful minute of it.

    20. Reviews Editor

      Review  –:

      A review from Amped

      It’s very rare to come across a band that can only really be described by playing one of their albums. It’s even rarer if such a band has an ever-changing sound and line-up, yet still has the ability to keep their fans guessing. A perfect example of such a band is Black Tape For A Blue Girl, who has constantly created atmospheric masterpieces for over twenty years! The first time you hear Black Tape it’s immediately obvious that if this group can do one thing it’s create some of the spookiest, moodiest and darkly beautiful songs out there. Black Tape For A Blue Girl, who recently released their tenth studio album, 10 Neurotics, has an ever-changing line-up with Projekt Records owner Sam Rosenthal as the only constant. While often relegated to the Goth genre, I’ve never found this tag to be an appropriate one and often think that the group has been deemed as such due to the almost-indescribable nature of their music. Like he does in his band with Nicki Jaine, Revue Noir; Sam Rosenthal and Black Tape create full-on moods rather than simple songs. They transport the listener into their expertly-orchestrated atmospheres and each album is almost like a field-trip to an oddly fascinating yet macabre spectacle; a sonic sideshow of musical proportions with Rosenthal taking on the roll of ringmaster. Black Tapes’ 10 Neurotics re-creates the band and expands the sound to make quite possibly their greatest release.

      On 10 Neurotics, Sam is joined by the Dresden Dolls’ Brian Viglione, as well as vocalists Athan Maroulis (Spahn Ranch), Laurie Reade (Attrition) and Nicki Jaine. Guest appearances on the album come courtesy of Lucas Lanthier (Cinema Strange), Elysabeth Grant, Michael Laird, Lisa Feuer and Gregor Kitzis. While the music on 10 Neurotics finds the band in a dark cabaret setting, according to Rosenthal himself, the songs lyrically “deal with a range of taboo topics: dominance/submission, furries, police state fetishists, pro-anna, exhibitionists, humiliation, self-destruction, cuckolding, and anonymous sex.” (www.projekt.com). The first track on the album, “Sailor Boy” explores the power dynamics of a dom/sub relationship and sounds like a cross between a marionette show and a salt-drenched sea song. “Inch Worm” is an especially-haunting song that is told from the point-of-view of an anorexic. Musically the song could be a sibling to and always reminds me of Black Tapes’ “Knock Three Times” (from 2004’s Halo Star album). “The Perfect Pervert” is another song that explores a dom/sub relationship; a conversation between the submissive (Laurie) and the dominant (Athan). Two of my favorite tracks on the album (“Rotten Zurich Café” and “In Dystopia”) feature the evocative and addicting vocals of Nicki Jaine. I am always immediately drawn to any song that Sam and Nicki have worked on together as it’s never anything less than pure magic. “The Pleasure In The Pain” is perhaps the “heaviest” track on the album and is a perfect example of the aforementioned mood that Black Tape creates. From the mix of drums and synthesizer to the choir-like backing vocals; this song has an almost-epic feel to it. The video for “Pleasure In The Pain” which was directed by Sam Rosenthal and availlable here is equally as mesmerizing albeit slightly unnerving. After stand out tracks such as “Tell Me You’ve Taken Another,” “Marmalade Cat,” and “Curious, Yet Ashamed” the album ends with “Love Of The Father.” The track, which is another contender for favorite song, is the one of the most heartbreaking songs I’ve ever heard. Told from the point of view of an abused boy – the extremely powerful song finds the boy questioning faith (and quite possibly life) because of his horrible experiences.

      Housed in a beautiful digipack packaging with a full-color, 28-page booklet, 10 Neurotics is Black Tape for a Blue Girl’s finest moment. From concept to creation, every aspect of this release was thoroughly thought-out and because of that; 10 Neurotics is an inimitable tour de force that shows the full power of Black Tape for A Blue Girl.“

    21. Reviews Editor

      Review  –:

      A review from All Music

      Given where Black Tape for a Blue Girl started almost a quarter of a century back with Sam Rosenthal’s exploration of calm, extended electronics twinned with darkly textured, melodramatic performances that ended up being tagged as goth for lack of a better term, it’s striking to sense how his muse and interests have been reflected over the years with the release of each new album. Halo Star had already showcased his increasing interest with neo-cabaret music and 10 Neurotics brings it flowering in the full, even as there’s enough of the calm contemplation lurking in the arrangements and familiar from albums like Ashes in the Brittle Air. But right from the start, with the alternate-world Weimar-bar singalong of “Sailor Boy,” performed by Laurie Reade and Athan Maroulis, Rosenthal’s two main vocal muses this time around, it’s clear that Rosenthal’s work with performers like Nicki Jaine in the Revue Noir collaboration continues to bear further fruit. Jaine herself appears at various points throughout the album, her own vocal highlight being the amazing kiss-off “Rotten Zurich Café,” while Rosenthal and multi-instrumentalist Brian Viglione handle the majority of the music. For all of the more overt role-playing in the lyrics in place of straight-up confessionals as in the past — a good example of the newer approach being seen in “Inch Worm,” with lyrics derived from a blog Rosenthal read on the concerns of self-image — there’s still enough of it to draw a line back to the past. Combined with the calmer music on songs like “Caught by a Stranger,” featuring Projekt regulars Michael Laird of Unto Ashes and Steve Roach, and even more notably “I Strike You Down,” sung by the ever-elegant Elysabeth Grant, 10 Neuroticsis in the end as much of a career summation as a marking point for Rosenthal. – Ned Raggett.

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