Doll By Doll
(Copyright © 1999 Piero Scaruffi | Legal restrictions - Termini d'uso )

The Mystery Of Love Is Greater Than The Mystery Of Death , 6/10
Forbidden Songs Of The Dying West , 6/10
Argyll Cycle , 5/10
Fairy Tales For Hard Men , 6/10
Night Lilies , 5/10
Defending Ancient Springs , 5/10

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At the end of the 1970s, the Doll By Doll were one of the first British bands to challenge the punk-rock dogma. While Remember (Automatic, 1979) was still a formative work, reminiscent of Graham Parker's pub-rock and Nick Lowe's power-pop (Butcher Boy, Palace Of Love), but Gypsy Blood (Automatic, 1979) shone with grandiose and crystalline guitar arrangements (Human Face, Teenage Lightning). It became evident that the band was merely a vehicle for leader Jackie Leven. a Scottish soul singer with a mission. Alas, Doll By Doll (MCA, 1981) was a disappointment and Grand Passion (MCA, 1982) was, de facto, only a mediocre duet between Leven and Helen Turner. Leven had to retire from the scenes due to heroin addiction.

Leven staged a surprise come-back in the 1990s with The Mystery Of Love Is Greater Than The Mystery Of Death (Cooking Vinyl, 1994), that was a revelation: his dark and melodramatic register delivers parables of loss and desperation in a manner reminiscent of Jeffrey Lee Pierce, albeit in a unique "celtic soul" style (Call Mother A Lonely Field). Forbidden Songs Of The Dying West (Cooking Vinyl, 1995), that employed even a sixty-voice choir, continued with more gothic tales (Young Male Suicide Blessed By Invidible Woman). THe two volumes of Argyll Cycle (Cooking Vinyl, 1996) collect songs composed between 1985 and 1990 while he was recovering from his drug addiction. Fairy Tales For Hard Men (Cooking Vinyl, 1997) is his most "Scottish" album, very much steeped into the misty landscape and the ancient traditions of Scotland (Boy Trapped In A Man). Night Lilies (Cooking Vinyl, 1998 - Thirsty Ear, 1999) is his most eclectic work yet, with even touches of blues and jazz. Defending Ancient Springs (Cooking Vinyl, 2000), that sets to music poems of great writers of the century, is another ambitious work that spans different styles (Paris Blues).

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