Dream City Film Club

In the Cold Light of Morning

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Not overtly goth but not specifically anything else, Dream City Film Club's second and final album embraces the moodier and more aggressive sides of life in the same way as fellow black clothes, damaged types from the U.K. Strangelove and Placebo, for instance. There's electric mayhem aplenty, to be sure, but more of the screwed up inside feeling instead of the mosh pit or death scenario, like the glam-smeared psychosis build of "Billy Chic." Lead singer/guitarist Michael Sheehy has a definite Nick Cave/Jeffrey Lee Pierce country-blues jones, but he has enough strength and appeal to carry it all through on his own, plus a slightly lighter voice at points that provides good contrast. Bassist Andrew Park and drummer Laurence Ash are more competent than distinct in their playing, but don't let up the side, while various guest performers on everything from violin to sax and flute add a nicely off kilter touch to many tracks. Sheehy is the unquestioned guy at the center, though, and it's no surprise he ended up going solo as a result. When the band fully crank up and explode, as on the lengthy doom-crunch "Nerveshot," the results can be pretty darn inspired; the elements are all familiar but the end effect is still unquestionably thrilling. The duet with Lian Warmington on "Stooge" is especially impressive, with a dollop of harmonies via X and industrial clatter in the percussion; Warmington also turns up on the ominous slow beat-into-feedback crawl of "God Will Punish the Pervert Preacher," doing an effective lead vocal. Other quieter numbers, like the mysterious opener "Killer Blow" and the post-'50s tearjerk shimmers of "The Curse" and "Sarah in Dreams," show the group equally able to tone things down but keep the atmosphere going. "The Curse" in particular is quite wonderful, sounding like the Twin Peaks song that Chris Isaak never wrote or performed.

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