Volume 93, Issue 88
Thursday, March 16, 2000
|ARTS AND ENTERTAINMENT
LOX fail while Doyle sets sail
EMI Music Canada
With her latest album, hyperdramatic, Canadian singer/songwriter Damhnait Doyle has once again unleashed her talents on the world.
It's a lush offering from a woman whose voice is part Chantal Kreviaczuk and part Sarah McLachlan, all wrapped up in Doyle's own unique flair.
Although a drastic departure from her first album, hyperdramatic is a strong album in its own right. Aided by veteran producer Dave Hodge, Doyle uses sampling techniques and multi-layered vocals to give some songs a full and original sound. Yet on other efforts, she strips her sound down to the bare essentials in order to communicate the raw emotion of generally well-penned lyrics.
As a co-writer, Doyle covers a wide range of topics, most notably relationships and finding the perfect match. Her songwriting style is appealing because of its candid, journal-like feel. On the title track, Doyle sings, "I'm not as calm as I thought I'd be/You sucked me in, spinned me round/And set me free."
Equally insightful songs include, "Learn To Crawl" and "Maybe A Son," which is perhaps the album's most personal composition. Doyle's soft vocals convey the sadness of a couple forced to part ways because the woman didn't want children. By far the album's standout achievement, its position as the final song leaves listeners compelled to listen to the album again.
The layering and mixing of her vocals sets Doyle apart from her contemporaries, many of whom are still relying on traditional music formulas. She comes across as a progressive artist, willing to experiment with new sounds and technologies. Her eagerness to investigate such territory is indicative of a confident, self-assured artist.
Although the album has many good moments, Doyle will hopefully continue on her current course of innovation into new avenues. Songs such as "Tattooed" and "(Because I) Love Myself," are weak links in comparison to the album's overall content.
With some development, Doyle will perhaps take on full songwriting responsibility and exercise greater creative control.
hyderdramatic is a solid effort from one of Canada's rising musicians. Her willingness to experiment should carry Doyle into new, uncharted places possibly even the echelons of superstardom.
We Are The Streets
The massive implosion of the Puff Daddy-run Bad Boy Entertainment record label has been quite visible as of late and some insiders point to The LOX's abandonment of the label as yet another sign of this.
The LOX had grown displeased with Puff's transformation of their music to a poppy, radio-friendly sound, so they jumped ship to Ruff Ryders, a label notorious for their hard-core reputation.
As a result, We Are The Streets is a record much more in tune with The LOX's roots hard, pounding and relentless. Is this a good thing? Well, not on its own, as The LOX have a pretty derivative lyrical style.
However, with a few quality guest appearances and excellent production from wunderkind Swizz Beatz and the acclaimed Tim "Timbaland" Mosely, the result is a simply bad, but not horrible, effort.
The basic problems are The LOX's pathetic vocals and a mixture of rambling boasts and threats, interrupted periodically with tuneless shouts, which presume to constitute a chorus.
The album's title track is a perfect example of this a monotonous collection of each member taking a turn boring the listener with equal expertise.
Swizz Beatz makes a valiant effort to salvage the album by laying down some quality beats underneath the lyrics, but even he cannot spin The LOX's chaff into a gold record.
Timbaland's lone effort is the only passably good cut, despite the presence of The LOX in small spurts. "Ryde or Die, Bitch" features Ryders mainstays Swizz Beatz, Drag-On and Eve. It bubbles with Timbaland's penchant for off-kilter, infectious beats. This is the only listenable track on the album, but then again, perhaps it was not The LOX's intention to please the masses.
This time around, The LOX are surely not out for what they purported on their last effort, Money, Power, Respect. Their intro skit is a random collection of people's negative opinions about the group, trashing the members for everything from their lyrical skills to their lack of parenting responsibilities.
Continuing in this classless vein, "Brains... (Take:1)" depicts a groupie giving one of The LOX members fellatio, with predictable slurping sounds.
After just one listen, it's clear that We Are The Streets is not an album for rap music fans and certainly not one for weak stomachs.
Copyright © The Gazette 2000