It’s hard to believe Cindy Lee wasn’t included in season three of Twin Peaks. The music has a Lynchian quality. It goes from moments of dream like beauty to harrowing noise.
Favorite track: What's Tonight To Eternity.
For Patrick Flegel, Cindy Lee is more than just a recording music project. It is the culmination of a lifelong exploration of art, the electric guitar, queer identity and gender expression. "Singers like Patsy Cline and The Supremes carried me through the hardest times of my life," explains Flegel, "and also provided the soundtrack to the best times."
Following the dissolution of Canadian experimental indie band Women, Flegel would delve deeper into songwriting that bends further toward high atmospherics and bracing melodies – a unique space where splendor naturally collides with experimentation. Delivering moments of sheer beauty through somber reflections on longing and loneliness, Cindy Lee is something to hold onto in a world of disorder.
What's Tonight To Eternity, Cindy Lee's fifth long-form offering, showcases the project's most entrancing strengths: ethereal snowdrift pop and sly nods toward classic girl-group motifs. Recorded at Flegel's Realistik Studios in Toronto and featuring younger brother Andrew Flegel on drums, the album travels hand in hand with a spectral guide.
Flegel found inspiration for Cindy Lee in the form of Karen Carpenter, drawing on the singer / drummer's early recordings as well as her look and style. "I found a deep interest and comfort in Karen's story, which is a cautionary tale about the monstrosity of show business, stardom at a young age and being a misfit looking for connection. The darkness and victimizing tabloid sensationalism she suffered is easily tempered and overwhelmed by her earnest output, her artistry, her tireless work ethic. Something utterly unique and magical takes shape in the negative space, out of exclusion. What I relate to in her has to do with what is hidden, what is unknown."
What's Tonight To Eternity remains a mix of pop culture indoctrination, pain and suffering, hopes and dreams, fierce confrontations and wide-open confessional blurs. Closing with the song "Heavy Metal" (dedicated to the memory of former Women bandmate Chris Reimer) and adorned by Andrea Lukic's Journal of Smack artwork, the album continues the bold and rewarding path on which Cindy Lee has embarked.
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I probably wouldn't have listened to this without the context of it being about dementia, but even without that context, this is a real work of art. The distorted big-band samples create a sound that starts out nostalgic, and becomes disturbing and confused, then fades into emptiness, but is enthralling all the way through. Stage 4 is my favorite, simultaneously defying musical logic and upholding it. Ivan Stanton