08 January, 2008


I was trying to think of a word that evokes deep darkness, and Mephistopheles popped into my head. Devil of the Faust legend, Mephistopheles is cast in shadow, fire, and brimstone. Pretty creepy dude. Miss Ludella Black isn't quite his counterpart on land (and in female form), but her music makes Amy Winehouse's Back To Black seem positively perky.

Miss Ludella Black is Joan Jett meets Grace Slick with a little Robert Plant thrown in for gender-ambiguous rock 'n' roll measure. Her music isn't new by any standards. The music on She's Out There sounds like it was recorded and gestated in the 1960s, but the album was only made back in 2000 (oh, so long ago).

Fourteen songs with shuddery, wailing vocals and crashing, almost anti-melodic guitar-playing. MLB starts with "He's Out There", a heartbroken rocker. The lyrics are almost in complete opposition to the delivery and instrumentation. Miss Black is expressing her emotional depression at the loss of a boy, but the guitars clang and smash around in the background, and Ludella's own voice is full of power, not torn by powerlessness. "This Room" and "Love Pours Out Of My Heart" grab onto different 1960s themes. "This Room" is similar to the Specials' "Ghost Town", full to bursting with spaghetti-western creepiness, and almost unctuous and overly dramatic in delivery. "Love Pours Out Of My Heart" hits a Beach Boys stride, but it's more Pet Sounds than "Good Vibrations". "Why?" sounds eerily similar to "White Rabbit". Heavy and dramatic delivery, and climaxing guitar and drum play in the background.

The rest of the album is composed of fairly similar tracks. Like I said, there isn't much that's truly new on She's Out There; yet, I find this sound intoxicating. It's powerful music coming from an undeniably female voice, and it truly rocks. I wouldn't listen to Miss Ludella Back on dark and rainy days, but when I'm feeling particularly kick-ass, I could definitely throw her album in my stereo. This is pure fire and brimstone, with lots of shadows thrown into the mix, and I can imagine listening to this album after a session of Led Zeppelin on a midnight drive. Let's just hope Miss Ludella Black isn't down for the count, and that Mephistopheles isn't taking over any time soon.

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