Arto Lindsay's Salt

by Mary-Ann Monforton

I once saw an old cartoon with a rooster crooning in a house of hens. The rooster, of course, was Frank Sinatra. He was as thin as his microphone stand. The hens, some sitting on the fence, some perched on their nests, were enraptured. Those on the fence were declaring their last clucks, flopping over in a faint. For those on their nests, the more Frankie sang, the more eggs they lay. With one primal cluck they would find themselves atop a pillar of eggs. There was no escaping the power of that voice.

I just played Arto Lindsay’s late-’70s hit with DNA, “Blond Redhead.” I’ve always loved that song. I followed it up with a cut from his new CD, Salt, titled “Habite Em Mim.” Both are trio arrangements with bass, guitar, and drums. Both have a driving rhythm that propels a passionate voice. What is so strikingly different and what is so profoundly similar about “Blond Redhead” and “Habite Em Mim” are one and the same. In “Blond Redhead” you’re given a maniacal, frenetic, and anxious desire, and in “Habite Em Mim” a soothing, melodic, assured desire; one seminal no-wave punk, the other lyrical samba. In both, a passionate man, saying what he feels at 25 and again at 50. The essential difference isn’t style, substance, or craft. It is maturity. What remains constant is that Arto Lindsay puts out. When you’re young, you want it all at once. When you’re older you realize that time has much to offer.

I have always considered Arto in the same light as Frank Sinatra, essentially a timeless crooner. Salt is guaranteed to find you sitting on a pillar of eggs—that is, if you weren’t already flopped over the fence some 20-odd years ago by “Blond Redhead.”

—Mary-Ann Monforton


Salt was released by Righteous Babe Records in May.

Samba (dance)
Summer 2004
The cover of BOMB 88