Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Doleful Lions...

Here's yet another release by the good folks at Parasol Records. This one arrived in my mailbox about 3 or 4 weeks ago and has been getting sporadic play mostly due to the fact that it both frightens and confuses me. I guess those reactions should be considered major accomplishments given that I'm a cynical fuck who automatically believes he's heard it all before and that it was done better by someone else. I've got no history with Doleful Lions, and by that I mean before Shaded Lodge And Mausolem arrived I'd never heard them or heard of them. My ears were clean white virgins to their sound. And a discomfiting sound it is. The band is a duo based in Chicago that seems to mine a slightly twee style of pop territory: lots of acoustic guitars, gentle vocals, mellowness occasionally broken by a fuzz laden guitar and uptempo beat. The first track "Sham Magic in the Night Gallery" is a great slice of jangly guitar pop. The drums are tinny and buried in the mix but it works well with the song as the drums seem to echo the six note guitar line that keeps popping up all clean and handsome amidst the less realized production. It's a nice juxtaposition and a great song. But things get creepier from there. The rest of the songs are almost all simple relatively unadorned acoustic guitar ballads that are essentially folk in style despite some bleeps, drones, bells and hisses. Lead singer/songwriter Johnathan Scott writes lovely ballads and sings in a semi-baritone that seems to be half nasal and half oboe. And it starts getting weird. Evidently Scott has an obsession with black metal band Von and he tries mightily to invoke their shadow in his lyrics. The lyrics of all the songs conjure up visions of dungeons, satan, sacrifices, ghosts, darkness, creeping voids, holy men, clerics, wizards, etc. You know, the kind of Dungeons and Dragons stuff that's either laughable or stupefying. Doleful Lions seem to land somewhere in the middle. The music is quite good though I could stand for a bit more stylistic variety (oh, there's the cynical bastard again) through the 10 songs, but it's growing on me more and more.

2 songs from Shaded Lodge And Mausolem:

Sham Magic in the Night Gallery

Tommy Tells of Ghostships

2 bonus songs from black metal band Von:

Satanic Blood

Veinen

4 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just wanted to add that Doleful Lions is apparently a duo that only correspond through e-mail & send their music back and forth to each other between Chicago and Chapel Hill. Each of their albums have a different vibe, but always pop derived, more recently lo-fi in production. They're interesting. I like the recent black metal vibe.

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