Inger Lorre is an important artist but, unfortunately, time has passed her
by and she has toiled away in relative obscurity for quite a while. She's a
castaway from the late '80s, when female-led bands such as Babes in Toyland
were clearing the trail blazed by earlier arty divas like Lydia Lunch, who
in turn was inspired by the likes of Patti Smith.
At the height of their creative powers, these women made their marks in
their respective historical moments, and if this album had been released 10
years ago, it would have been hailed as an instant classic.
Transcendental Medication wouldn't have sounded out of place if it
had been released at the same time as the 1987 debut of another band that
was also signed to the Triple X label: Jane's Addiction.
The Jane's reference is an apt one because, as the opening number ("She's
Not Your Friend" [RealAudio excerpt]) demonstrates, Lorre has picked up the art-metal baton from
that band of miscreants and run with it. The song begins with a slowly
building wave of clean, chiming guitars that turns to sludge when her
backing band steps on the distortion pedals and launches into a protometal,
chunky riff that is aided and abetted by a few wisps of dissonant synth
While the angst-heavy album isn't sophomoric, Lorre's lyrics
occasionally swerve into the trite zone, as in the slo-mo lumbering of "Gibby
Haynes is Next" (RealAudio excerpt), where she sings: "Always just the good ones get ripped off
the page/ get wiped off the stage of a thing we call life." I guess you
should expect a few lyrical missteps from a woman who counts as her
"spiritual advisor" Henry Rollins, a man who is responsible for such
laugh-out-loud clunkers as "I enter the womb of a silent, sullen depression/
I wait to be hatched out/ I am always stillborn." And the album's potential
ace in the deck, a guest appearance by the late Jeff Buckley on the plodding
"Thief Without The Take" (RealAudio excerpt), isn't outstanding enough for a Buckley fan to want to
run out and buy it.
Transcendental Medication is the sound of a moment frozen in time,
but the intensity of Lorre's songs and the underlying feeling that she's
serious about making a big statement keep the album from being pure