| Artist: Dreamchild|
CD Title: Lullabies for the Dead
Reviewer: Joshua Heinrich
Blending traditional and modern instrumentation with the Siouxsie Sioux-meets-Lisa Gerrard timbre and inflections of vocalist Cheryl Wanner, Dreamchild weave a diverse ethereal/world/folk/goth web on their third full-length outing, Lullabies for the Dead. Sporting a lovely fold-out digipak, the album is a 16-track, 67-minute journey through poetic tales of time and death. Sharing the stylistic and ethnic diversity of many of their contemporaries, albeit in a style that is, perhaps, a bit sparser and more reserved, Dreamchild's latest features exceptionally strong songwriting and performances, its mellow, stark shell inhabited by interesting, often subtle, production and lyrical and emotional depth.
Highlights include the coupling of "The Double Rose" and "Custom Fails", the sparse, stark instrumental beauty of the former giving way to the fully realized latter built around the same melody. The melodically lovely and atmospheric "La Tête d'Orphée", the length opener, "La Belle Dame Sans Merci", drawing its lyrical content from Keats, and the gorgeous layered ethereal folk of the disc's title track, "Lullaby for the Dead", are other standouts.
"Avalon" is, notably, the disc's airiest, most upbeat offering, while "Salome" and "Darkness Ascending" both lean a bit more towards bass-driven goth rock, albeit with rather unique production. "Forever", another lovely ethereal folk outing, has something of an Eastern influence, while the band incorporate a bit of authentic Latin flavor into their sound on a cover of R.J. Stewart's "Tango for Frida", a Latin sound that also underpins the following bass-driven, acoustic guitar-centered moody rock of "The Fountain".
"Medusa", "Herodias Piercing", and "The House of the Dead" are more sound collages than proper songs, blending vocal wails and breathy sighs and hisses atop moody instrumental soundscapes, the first and last adding spoken word poetry to the mix. The closing "Salve (5000 Monks Praying to a Falling Star)", likewise, is something of a moody 6-minute experimental soundscape, albeit with melodic lead vocals, while "Una Escultura de Huesos" is a short layered a cappella piece.
Overall, Dreamchild's Lullabies for the Dead is a strong and sonically interesting album with a fairly unique blend of instrumentation. From stark folk ballads featuring traditional instrumentation to unusual goth rock to experimental soundscapes, it's a lovely, worthwhile journey whose blend of subtle music and lyrical poetry will likely hold particular appeal for those with more artistic leanings.
Dreamchild website: www.dreamchildmusic.com
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