Human Drama

Solemn Sun Setting

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    9
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By the time Solemn Sun Setting appeared, it was ten years on from Human Drama's brush with mainstream fame via Feel, but to Johnny Indovina's credit, where lesser musicians and acts would have long since given up, he just seems to keep getting better and better. Working again with much the same group as on Songs of Betrayal -- notably drummer C.J. Eiriksson and keyboardist Mark Balderas, along with violinist Jamil Szmadzinski continuing his excellent work from 14,384 Days Later -- on Solemn Sun Setting Indovina comes up with his best album since The World Inside -- indeed his best yet. The understated but strong vibe on Songs of Betrayal that looked beyond simple goth rock classifications flowers ever more strongly here, Indovina and company touching on everything from moody Doors-reminiscent compositions to piano/string ballads and back again. Having covered "Caroline Says II" by Lou Reed on Pin-Ups, Indovina tries a song of his own in that vein, "The Truth About Gina," and it's a lovely wonder. At some of the softest points, like the gorgeous "Goodbye" and "A Single White Rose," Indovina shows his highest register yet, all still while retaining the careful control he always shows. There's even one of the hardest rocking tracks the band has yet recorded -- the stuttering riffs and rumbling drums and bongos of "The Ways and Wounds (Of My World)" -- but it's nothing like Feel's arrested developments, Indovina's vocals slyer and purring here, his guitar work avoiding polish for a forceful, gut-felt punch. Continuing a near-constant tradition of cover songs, Human Drama revisit the Tom Waits songbook at the end, and an inspired choice it is -- the wracked "Who Are You?," one of that musician's best ever compositions, Indovina delivering it with all the suffused passion appropriate.

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