doktorjohn.com

Bauhaus’s Final Bow – “Go Away White”

Filed under: Recorded Music,Reviews — doktorjohn March 27, 2008 @ 12:50 am

Veronica Puleo/Read Between The Lives/MMI Records

Filed under: Recorded Music,Reviews — doktorjohn November 14, 2007 @ 2:43 am

This singer-songwriter, originally from NJ, moved to Miami and is now a fixture in LA’s live music scene for the past 8 years. She chose the folk-rock idiom for her autobiographical retrospective on the various “lives” she has lived, first growing up a subjugated daughter in a Sicilian home then through various stages of liberation, maturation and artistic success. Her wide-ranging vocals are sweet and supple, reminiscent of Tracy Chapman. People in her past who tried to suppress her personal fulfillment are given retroactive castigations in darkly poetic pieces like “Rearview Mirror,” “I’m Still Me” and “Light of Truth.” Although the overall attitude is often bitter, the compositions, her voice and her arrangements are always beautiful. All is not accusation. Some tracks are retrospectives of gratitude and admiration. The finale is a jaunty, ironic Italian folksong song that makes peace between Veronica and the past that she does not totally reject.
B+ In a word: Bittersweet

Ninth House/ Realize and It’s Gone/ Sinister Records

Filed under: Recorded Music,Reviews — doktorjohn August 22, 2007 @ 3:05 am

This, Ninth House‘s third full length album continues in the band’s deep, dark, cemetery & western style featuring the moody poetry and vocals of baritone Mark Sinnis. Twelve tracks are offered, ranging from metal-flavored country rock to smooth, plaintive ballads to jangly honky tonk. As in their prior CDs, minor key melodies prevail. Ninth House ventures beyond the level of pessimism that is customary in traditional country & western to the extent of crossing over into Gothic rock. All songs are originals except the 1948 antique, “Ghost Riders in the Sky,” resurrected in a commendable version reminiscent of Sinnis’s idol, Johnny Cash. The title track is a gem, an intoxicating anthem that unites existential protest with passionate, irresistible hard rock. Though the topics are generally dark and the melodies mournful, the driving rock rhythms and exuberant guitar accompaniment ironically lift the listener to a kind of nihilistic euphoria.

Peter Murphy/Unshattered/ Viastar

Filed under: Recorded Music — doktorjohn March 27, 2005 @ 2:30 am

After three disappointing CDs in the past five years. Peter Murphy has come back with a fine album that is strictly in the rich style that he has been developing ever since the breakup of his seminal band Bauhaus. “Unshattered” contains eleven tracks characteristic of Murphy’s development since he went on his own and has the potential to undo the damage done to Murphy’s fan base by the last prior album ”Dust” —a poorly-received but highly-accomplished effort in which he abandoned the rock idiom in favor of entering the Near Eastern genre.

Show-casing his rich baritone, he sings and recites mysterious, sometimes enigmatic poetry to the accompaniment of heavily rhythmic, dark and mainly minor-key instrumentals. A few tracks have the harsh, monotonous dissonance that is reminiscent of old Bauhaus numbers, but most songs on this album are profoundly, richly melodious. A couple make odd but sparing use of an accordion or delicate, bent note guitar accompaniment. All entries on this album represent a returning to the beloved style of his best prior discs, “Cascade,” “Holy Smoke” and those albums previous.

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