Doll by Doll were embroiled in contract nightmares throughoutso the follow-up to their classic Gypsy Blood wasn't started until the beginning ofand released on Magnet in the U. The band's personnel remained together throughout the ordeal, which had been exacerbated by some truly negative press for Gypsy Blood along with the band's utterly unhinged live shows being deemed too "rockist," to coin Pete Wylie 's term.
The self-titled album featured ten new cuts, and in many ways presented a new variation on their sound that revealed a new sense of aesthetic security. The mood here is laid-back, given one or two tracks, and focuses on Jackie Leven 's strength as a writer of ballads. The knotty adventurousness of the previous two records -- where three or four melodic sources wove their way into a single tune, and where the presence of the guitar and drum attack stood in sharp contrast to the sweetness and authority of Leven 's voice -- had given way to a more consistent lyric sensibility, one that stood completely outside the realms of post-punk and the new synthetically driven pop of the era.
Caritas - Doll By Doll - Caritas fact, byDoll by Doll had become a conventional -- if utterly excellent -- rock band that could play mean pop tunes, but it was now Leven 's band rather than a collective musical force, and the lack of chaos took away a bit from the group's presence. There are moments here, like the overdriven raucous sexual post-funk of "Caritas" and the majestic Caritas - Doll By Doll - Caritas suicide death wish rock of "The Perfect Romance," where the fiery passion from the band's previous records asserts itself.
Mostly, however, this Caritas - Doll By Doll - Caritas the sound of a band falling apart, though Doll by Doll do so in a kind of beautifully optimistic and romantic way, as on tracks like "Soon New Life," where the handclapping roots rock sounds like Dion and Tim Buckley singing on a street corner, and the Springsteen-esque shuffle that becomes Quiet!
- Actors & Actresses - Arrows It Out" after a truly glorious intro. Keyboards color a lot of the sound on Doll by Doll ; guitars here are pinched, although ever present. Their sound is more atmospheric, less sonically Caritas - Doll By Doll - Caritas and forceful. There are some absolutely sublime moments here, however. The gorgeous single "Main Traveled Roads" unabashedly showcases Fear - Talamasca - Ascension by Doll 's Celtic roots more than anything they'd ever recorded.
Over its four minutes, the track journeys as a folk song into sophisti-pop territory with Leven 's falsetto finding its way into tight nooks and crannies and opening the lyrics to the broad light of morning. The acoustically driven midtempo rocker "Those in Peril" is an oddity -- though a beautiful one -- that would have been more at home on one of Leven 's solo albums from the s.
Travel, distance, and the journey to who knows where populate Leven 's songs like lost travelers who continue to move simply to stay one step ahead of both their pasts and presents, only looking to the horizon as a tabula rasa for their desires.
It's still startlingly original, but aesthetically caught between two poles of unknown origin. It sounds, ultimately, like the balladeer and the rocker against the bandmembers, who follow, puzzled as to where Leven 's heading. Jo Shaw 's force as a guitarist Untitled - Piano Magic - Popular Mechanics a backing vocalist is lost here, where it should have helped him bear the weight of the tune's lyrical excess.
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