Melora Creager, the Kansas City-born vocalist for the self-described "pseudoclassical positive goth" band Rasputina, is a lot like that teacher. On its latest EP, the group interprets seven out-of-left-field songs that -- here's an understatement -- defy innocent perceptions. Creager makes black-eye-liner-wearing "negative" goths look like undereducated pussies. Anyone can say, "I hate myself and I want to die," but it takes a real pro to turn innocuous nursery rhymes and Creedence Clearwater Revival songs into nightmarish spine tinglers.
Listening to Rasputina's "This Little Piggy" is like being reintroduced to an old childhood friend who's become a heroin addict. What the heck happened to little Joey, and why does he break into that electronica jig in the middle of talking about sending pigs to the slaughter? The band sounds most natural here on Marilyn Manson's "Tourniquet," not only because Creager's artistic endeavors seem to have been born from a chance meeting of Manson and Emily Dickinson, but also because the subject matter (spider legs, little teeth and the like) fits this enigmatic sound.
Whereas CCR's original "Bad Moon Rising" is fodder for a country hoedown, Rasputina's version sounds as though it's being performed by the house band in a bomb shelter. Creager's haunting voice and an ominous cello put a new twist on old lyrics: Hope you have got your things together/Hope you are quite prepared to die/Looks like we're in for nasty weather/One eye is taken for an eye. The same part of me that was blind to Holden's depression seems also to have previously neglected the apocalyptic leanings of John Fogerty.