By Afraid of the Dark
Smash, Smash, grrr, grrr, bang, slice, wham, dunka dunk, girly voice... hang on a minute! Girly voice?? Yes there it is again...quick re-read website biog, something about lead singer Penny's fantastic vocal range, mmm, was someone chatting her up when they said that? Ironic that she sings, "You think you're gifted" on opener Animosity and that is about the last time on this six song CD that you can actually decipher the words.
Ok, at this minute several members of the band could well be saying "Duh! That's how it's meant to be mate!" but I doubt it. If indeed Penny does have an incredible vocal range then why is it hidden so deep in the mix for the entire CD and as on Blood Reds Best for Winter? is reduced to a few in tune nasal noises. If brought out and with some melody put in for good measure, she could have the same effect for AOTD that Sonia Madan had for Echobelly. Musically wise AOTD are a dark alt punk band with splashes of metal and goth. For the main part it works although the poor mix and devoid of melody lead vocals just about let's down every song.
What AOTD do have going for them is their willingness to experiment and break from the norm. There's a wealth of angst and bleak atmosphere that just sadly isn't exploited by the weak vocal performance. The first 5 tracks are forgettable for the most part but closer Dark Eyes sees the band in experimental mood and it is a genuine relief to finally hear them deliver, just don't listen to it with headphones as I did first time - the feedbacks a killer... I said the FEEDBACKS A KILLER!