It’s not surprising that Alex Zhang Hungtai, who makes music under the nom de guerre Dirty Beaches , says his strongest influence is Hong Kong filmmaker Wong Kar-wai. Both “True Blue” and the films of Wong Kar-wai deal in isolation, sadness, and unrequited love, and both take broad emotional conceits and—in their own way—stylize them to abstraction. Wong Kar-wai uses chiaroscuro and color so vivid his characters lose themselves in their surroundings. On “True Blue” Hungtai is himself lost; his reverb-saturated croon sounds like Roy Orbison trapped at the bottom of a well. Both also share a resigned cool that is impossible to fake. I’ve never seen anyone smoke a cigarette with more gravity than in Wong Kar-wai’s masterpiece In the Mood For Love. Dirty Beaches’ heavy hearted rockabilly comes across with a similar doleful weightiness;“True Blue” truly is.
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