Danielle Dax

Blast the Human Flower

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This is another interesting outing from Danielle Dax, a woman who's shown a talent for absorbing more than a few world music influences into her quirky brand of smoky pop. Here she picks up on the Beatles' Indian classical influences with her cover of Lennon/McCartney's "Tomorrow Never Knows," a Turkish dervish music in the hypnotic, swirling "Bayou," and melodic power pop in "The Id Parade," the sarcastic opening track. It doesn't always work quite as well as it should, with some numbers, like "Big Blue '82'," falling short of the mark and never quite gelling, and others not quite developing beyond a few good ideas and a nifty rhythmic pulse, as happens on "King Crack."

The nice side is that Stephen Street's production keeps things filled out, giving Dax's very pretty voice plenty of room to work (especially on the beautiful "Daisy," a story of tragedy framed in a light, sweet musical landscape) while filling the gaps in some of the songs with interesting instrumental work. Check out "Dead Man's Chill," with its mix of chugging rhythm guitars, stomping drums (the drum machine work on this album is superb, by the way) and biting lead guitar. When the songs are on target and developed, the result is terrific, sharp material. Check out "Jehovah's Precious Stone" and the magnificent "16 Candles," the closing tale of a lover's tragic devotion. In summary, an excellent shot across the bow -- there's a lot of good music here, and some not so good, but it's worth checking out.

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