Sixteen Deluxe Vision Take Me Make Me Never Forsake Me (Sugar Fix)
Reviewed by Christopher Gray, Fri., June 30, 2000
Vision Take Me Make Me Never Forsake Me (Sugar Fix)Sixteen Deluxe's tracer-tinged vision told them to build a studio with their Warner Bros. severance pay, and this huge, squealing, sprawling, schizophrenic album is the payoff. It's only 45 minutes long, but their third LP is so tightly packed with sound, sometimes it seems like two or three songs are going on at once. That's always been their gift, though; the band's identity coalesces around the give-and-take between Carrie Clark's haunting vocals, "Frenchie" Smith's mad-scientist effects wizardry, and one-man rhythm section Steven Hall's piledriving whomp. The way they harness those disparate strains and (usually) squeeze them into one musical idea with spellbinding tenacity is what makes them a great band and what makes Vision their most fully realized album to date. Even with about a dozen friends contributing everything from tambourine and bells to cello and Mellotron, the band never succumbs to solipsistic wankery the same way all the peripheral activity rarely (if ever) subverts their glistening melodies. "To Find What's Waitin' For," "Slat Rubry," and "Inside Job" are head-bobbing, fuel-injected adrenaline rushes of the highest order, and the gradual metamorphosis of "Custom Cuts and Signature Sounds" from big-eyed countryish daydream to swaggering riff-rocker is effortless and fluid. "Smithsonian Holding Tank" and "The King Fisher" are each glowing instances of delicate psych-pop, while "Hazmatz" and "Red River Anger Management Society" revisit the astral guitar glory of their lush Backfeedmagnetbabe debut. "In the city we have the capacity to even outshine the sun," Clark sings on "Inside Job," and with Vision, Sixteen Deluxe show the capacity to outshine even themselves.