April 29, 2002

Donna Regina "Northern Classic"

Sometimes, when you've got a record to review, certain things come up. A record will sound like another record; a band will sound eerily like another band. Styles are copied, mimmicked, and manipulated. If you're lucky, then the imitators are good. I have gone on and on and on about bands that sound like others, the influences of one band over the other, or the imitation factor. Lazy as it may be, sometimes it's the only way to convey the point. Occasionaly, you stumble upon a band that pulls from influences so diverse that to mention them in the same setence negates the reviewer's ability to compare and contrast, and makes said comparison seem nothing more.

Donna Regina sounds like the musical meeting of Nico and Sade. There, that's been said. I know, I know, it's a hard-to-picture combination, but, I swear to you, this is what Northern Classic sounds like! From the first notes of "Let's Get Slow," I'm reminded almost immediatly of Sade's hit "No Ordinary Love." Then, when Regina starts singing...it's automatic that I think of the ice-queen herself, albeit with a more feminine touch. Not that you have to wait much longer for the High Priestess of Weird to appear; she shows up in "Blue (Happy Without You)" and makes you wonder what Nico would have sounded like had she lived long enough to enter into this post-electronica era. For pure,"this could be an outtake from a Nico album" pleasure, skip over to "When I Was Younger," which sounds *exactly* what Nico was going for on her last album.

Comparisons aside, I have to say that Northern Classic is an aural pleasure. If you like the dark sounds of Europa after closing time--the sound of a dark, foreboding city torn between day and night, between good and bad--then Donna Regina has made your soundtrack. Smooth, sensual, sexy, dark, mysterious, and cool--Northern Classic has the sounds to your pre-dusk ecstacy-comedown chillout Eurotrash moments. Donna Regina know what you're up to, because they've been there. If you've not been there, then I'm sure you'll enjoy the trip.

--Joseph Kyle

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