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The Transfused

With their newest project, the punk rock opera The Transfused, Olympia-based genre-benders The Need outdo themselves once again. The duo collaborated with longtime Northwest songwriter Nomy Lamm to create an ambitious, overtly political piece of musical theater that suggests Bertold Brecht (the legendary Marxist German playwright, of Threepenny Opera fame) updated for the postmodern, post-punk era. The story of The Transfused follows a group of downtrodden outcasts living in a "not-too-unlikely future" set a hundred years after the fall of the "American Empire," forced to endure the militant oppression of a new ruling class known as "The Corporation." Clearly, an explicitly polemical bit of political theater -- something that's all but disappeared from the American stage since the salad days of Clifford Odets and the Group Theater in the '30s. It's exciting to see some of independent music's leading radicals turn their attention to the theater.

The soundtrack, The Transfused: Original Rock Opera Score, can stand alone; it's a wonderful piece of highly theatrical punk rock cabaret, by turns baroque, obtuse, and incisive. You can rest assured you've never heard anything remotely like it before. The Need's Rachel Carns and Radio Sloane and Team Dresch's Donna Dresch provide the musical accompaniment down in the orchestra pit, while Lamm and a cast of more than two dozen contribute the vocal parts.

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