The Divinyls

What a Life!

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AllMusic Review by

The Divinyls were one of the most unfortunately overlooked acts of the 1980s, but the reason they didn't achieve much commercial success could be because an album like What A Life! is so inconsistent. The Divinyls' best strengths lie both in Christina Amphlett's unique vocal delivery, and guitarist Mark McEntee's bottom-heavy, grungy, guitar work, and not so much in their songwriting. The Divinyls always manage to come up with a few memorable songs, such as "Pleasure and Pain" (a thinly-veiled ode to sadomasochism), "Casual Encounter," and the ballad "Sleeping Beauty," but many of the album tracks are hardly memorable. "In My Life" is a catchy rocker, but Amphlett's vocals (which are usually the highlight of the band's music) sound banal and unpolished. Likewise, the album's closer, "Dear Diary," is a pretentious stab at art that instead sounds very flat and dull. What A Life! is a solid album for fans of the band, but there are better places to start for casual listeners.

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