Lady Die

Lady Die

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    6
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Lady Die, aka Dianne Smith, takes things on her own after stints in the Murdering Monsters and LD50 with this brief and very enjoyable slice of home-recorded tunes and noise. The New Zealand native's musical heritage is open and apparent at many points -- more than a few songs betray her love for the Tall Dwarfs in particular, with their blend of low-key roughness and tripped-out psychedelia. "CK500 Theme," an all-keyboard creation at the heart of the album, manages to be both warmly fun and a little unsettling at the same time, the stentorian bassline below the lead melody anchoring the track just so. Meanwhile, both the "Space Musik" tracks on the album -- the second one actually appearing first -- would make great soundtracks for when the boxy aliens stepped out of a Soviet sci-fi film set from the 1960s. More than once Smith unleashes a wail that, thanks to the production, sounds more like an extremely twisted guitar solo -- it's at once unsettling and wonderfully impressive, the distortion she applies to her voice further blurring the line. "Three" in particular captures this is-it-or-isn't-it question perfectly, alternating her vocal swoops with a merry and twinkly keyboard as an abbreviated percussion squelch loops in the background. Many tracks eschew vocals altogether, and when she does sing, as on "Not Home" or "This," it's often further hidden in the mix, making the results both oddly private and fiercely expressive. The clearest it gets is with the closing track, "Cha Cha," where her infrequently heard (by her own choice!) trained singing voice alternates with her more familiar and expressive style over a steadily pulsing beat and scratchy, slightly sad guitar.