BLOODLETTING was the album where Concrete Blonde launched into the mainstream, without losing their conscience and true center. Underrated vocalist/bassist Johnette Napolitano's descending chromatic bass line that opens "Bloodletting (The Vampire Song)" is a sinister backdrop to lyrics that pay tribute to the urban legends of New Orleans. The blistering "The Sky Is A Poisonous Garden" keeps the Blonde's punky roots intact while "Caroline" speaks to heart-wrenching emotions.
Johnette's earthy imagery takes shape in "The Darkening Of The Light," while the Hendrix-influenced "I Don't Need A Hero" makes the most of sparse percussion. "Days And Days" features Johnette's trademark spoken verse/sung chorus style to great effect. The disturbingly sweet "Joey" is often misunderstood as a love song (in the tradition of "Every Breath You Take" by the Police) while "The Beast" personifies love as a predator.
Entertainment Weekly - "strange, strong, lovely" - Rating: A-
CD Review (1/91) - Performance 9 / Sound 8 - "..worthy successor to the band's first two CD's precisely because it doesn't depend on them..."