“Anyone who likes Fear of Dolls must think murder and rape is fun” - anonymous
Performer / March 2007
Strange moments and bands in popular music are referenced in bounds, from The Residents’ dissonant nursery rhymes to The Boredoms’ layered vocal experiments to Revolution #9’s backwards tape loops. While Fear of Dolls’ music can be enjoyable, it’s sad to say it’s just not weird to be strange anymore. It’s an established genre of its own.
As the title suggests, “She Was Laughing” has a Residents-inspired breakdown (literally) where the drums stutter and vocalist Bonni Suval stops singing and starts giggling like a caricature of a Japanese schoolgirl on acid. “The Prettiest Song” is a seriously brutal trip, with Suval’s hysterical ranting and screaming and Greg Forschler’s hellish sludge guitar recalling Italy’s Ovo. “Can You Get Through Her Open Sores?” is a climbing, slow-burn of a masterpiece that utilizes a simple, repeating melody and a xylophone to create a haunting mix of childlike innocence and pain that is authentic. It’s the beginning of a band developing its own voice, channeling a “strangeness” that is emotive rather than novel.
Taking Notes / August 2006
Fear Of Dolls is the project of avant-garde musician Greg Forschler, who is joined on this recording by vocalist Bonni Suval and drummer Shaun Richards. ‘Lullabies For Aborted Children’ is their fourth release to date.
The album opens with ‘Can You Hear The Sickness?’, which is a bit like an underwater opera, attended by a cacophony of insect sea-life. A more childlike Bonni sings, laughs and screams her way through ‘She Was Laughing’, a slightly unsettling number with some pounding guitars courtesy of Greg. The outsider-esque guitars and drums on ‘The Night Time Tea Party’ are reminiscent of artists like Jandek, but are given that eerie gothic slant with Bonni’s innocent vocals. Greg himself provides the vocals to next track ‘Drop Out’, though they are sparse and highly distorted. In this album of varying styles this song shows influence of both blues and grunge, though in it’s own original way. Track six ‘The Laughing Fetus’ clocks in at just one minute eighteen seconds. Sounding like an extract from an obscure horror film, it’s chilling enough at this length. Following this is an exquisite cover of The Rolling Stones’ ‘Sister Morphine’, with a more mature and seductive Bonni on vocals and Greg on acoustic guitar and toy piano. Penultimate track ‘The Prettiest Song’ is a crushing display of musical exuberance. Unlike it’s title may suggest, after it’s operatic intro, this is a forceful and bruising number, with only a trickle of sweetness coming from Bonni’s voice. Final track ‘Can You Get Inside Her Through Her Open Sores?’ is delicate by comparison, with light percussion, restrained guitars, graceful xylophone and hushed vocals.
‘Lullabies For Aborted Children’ is an album of great diversity. It is a marvelous collection of songs, held together with an ethereal feel and a gothic melancholy.
Insomnia / July 2006
Beautifully played and arranged music that at times leaves you feeling a little afraid and vulnerable with its haunting atmosphere. Fear of Dolls is the creation of the very talented Greg Forschler who pushes his undoubted talent to the limit with this epic release. The majority of the vocal work on the album is done by Bonni Suval whose very unique vocal style matches the music perfectly. Like your music a little different? Then check out this excellent Seattle artist. This CD is pure genius and pure schizophrenic in equal proportions.
Redefine / July 2006
You ever have that dream where you’re following a little girl around a dreary playground next to a nuclear power plant. You know the one. You start pushing her on the merry go round and you’re both having fun when she suddenly starts talking about her dead imaginary friend and spitting out her own blood drenched teeth. The one where you wake up scared out of your wits and yet slightly aroused for some reason.
No? Yeah, me neither, but that’s the exact kind of landscape Seattle’s own Fear of Dolls seem to be trying to invoke. To describe this band’s music as haunting would be a bit of an understatement. It’s like they’re trying to make the soundtrack to a new Japanese horror flick involving child spirits seducing and murdering a lonely puppeteer.
Ghostly howls of pained female innocence belt forth shyly beneath an otherworldly hum of effected guitars and children’s toy emanations. The most off putting aspect of the whole thing is the bizarre sexuality that vocalist Bonni Suval emits throughout; simultaneously creepy and alluring.
To be fair there’s not much here that’s going to get stuck in your head for much more than the album’s duration but that’s kind of besides the point. Bands like this are based around a concept, and until another band comes around making lullabies for aborted children, Fear of Dolls can continue to corner the market. I never even knew there should be a band like this until I heard it with my own ears. It makes perfect sense because it doesn’t at all. You just can’t help but respect their vision.
Industrial.org by Royce Icon / 2006
“Lullabies for aborted children” is the newest release from this Seattle based project and it contains 9 new tracks including a creepy cover of The Rolling Stones song “Sister Morphine.” Bonni Suval’s vocals on this disc are at times actually quite unsettling (especially when she screams) and I love the overall unique weirdness of the music, the way they morph the guitar and use toy pianos and such in a very effective way. It’s very slow and jangly, like some very bizarre alien jam. Listening to this album is kind of what I think you would hear if you were able to distill the essence of the sideshow carnival and transform it into a rock band.
Devolution / 2006
Fear of Dolls are a band who have managed to tap in to an unspoken world of eerie soundscapes, psychotic laughter, piercing screams and hushed lullaby voices that would make any horror movie producer proud. From the songs themselves right down to the artwork FOD have created something truly unique and will bring the hairs up on the back of your neck.
Legends / 2005
Immediately disturbing and spooky right from the outset, Lullabies for Aborted Children is absurdly offensive and botulistically infectious. “Can you Hear the Sickness?” is the outrageously effecting opener, leading the listener into as deep a pit of despair, loneliness and doom as can be imagined aurally.
She Was Laughing really does open like a lullaby, with pretty music box strains and calm guitar. The only thing that doesn’t fit is the off-by-a-notch drums. A sudden breath of normalcy somehow misplaced in a package of surreal. And then she...snaps. It’s like She Was Laughing started as something sweet and was raped into submission by an unknown score of demonic memories and torture.
Some tracks will drag you through the depths across an arid plain of dust and granite while whispering dark nothings in your inner ear: Drop Out. Others will fill you with undirected rage and anger at nothing at all with slamming sound barrages and unraveling personalities gibbering in your general direction: The Prettiest Song. And then they’ll remake the Stones’ Sister Morphine over in their own sinister in between it all. Not for the weak of mind or faint of heart.
It’s possible that Lullabies for Aborted Children, stated to be the quintessential Fear of Dolls album, will be the last. The fourth release to date, I would like to think it’s being our final trip to be true because these jaunts with Greg have possibly harmed me to the core of my mind. The mixed up sounds, carnal lyrics and dark offensive nature turned into a parody in its own right – I’m not so sure my psyche can take more of his vivid imaginings. Greg’s work is, again, beautifully frightening. But this time he’s gone so much deeper into the charnel pits of his head that none of us are sure he can get out.
Underground Press / December 2005
As usual, Fear of Dolls creates music that could easily be considered the soundtrack to hallucinations and demented fantasies, transcending the expectations that mainstream crowds have for sweet-sounding and melodious music. This is an art form, more than just pleasure to the senses – multilayered experiments with toy piano, xylophone, organ, and other toys, together with disturbing vocals and eccentric imagery. This is music for your midnight tea party with your imaginary friend.
Chain D.L.K. / 2005
Lullabies For Aborted Children is the latest and maybe last Fear Of Dolls album and I must say that it is a tough one. If while listening to the old EPs you had a sense of desperation, with this one desperation turned into nihilism: check the opening “Can you hear the sickness?” and you’ll understand what I mean. Try to imagine a choir of pigs (do you remember the Sickness Of Snakes’ track recorded that way?) mixed with fallen angels vocals and you’ll have that track. “Screaming inside her” opens with an applause and that one starts the “freak show”. Originally the track was on the “Bless this broken body” EP (as well as the following “She was laughing”) but it has been re-recorded. The effect of listening to forty five minutes of Fear Of Dolls music all in a row is positively devastating and it is like listening to a Codeine record played by the Birthday Party. I suggest you to avoid listening if you are depressed or stressed.
Widdershins / 2005
If the title, Lullabies for Aborted Children, doesn’t turn you off, you’ll probably enjoy the deliberately bizarre, spookily obfuscatory soundscapes created by a regularly rotating cast of musicians.
Lullabies for Aborted Children is not unremittingly dark or negative. And a good thing, too; art without contrast tends to be boring and one-dimensional. Fear of Dolls, however, understands texture, depth and contrast, and how to make them work in its music. The result is surprisingly multilayered, drawing the listener’s ear into a surreal auditory landscape that’s worth visiting more than once.
Music Extreme / 2005
This is a really weird band....
Tablet / June 2005
Listening to “Lullabies for Aborted Children” will probably make you uncomfortable. It’s a creepy, troubling CD. Full of atonality, disturbing images and occasional silliness. If this is, in fact, your reaction, then Fear of Dolls has done their job well. The band has been around for ten years and is in a constant state of flux This uncertainty is reflected in the group’s music. It’s not that “lullabies” sounds bad, or hesitant, or tentative, but there is an audible willingness to truck with the unexpected.
Music Extreme / 2005
Starting with the climatic “She Lives Alone” the band shows from the beginning that their goal is to surprise and to construct dark atmospheres and dense passages with their instruments. Showing really good musicianship the band creates intricate parts where everything is pure originality. I really love M. Violets voice that is delicate and deep and fits the eerie atmosphere that the music here has. The guitars are a key instrument here constructing passages of pure distortion and then creating clean arpeggios, depending on the mood of the songs. The rhythm section is really unconventional creating uncommon patterns through all the composition. If you are looking for something truly original with a lot of experimentation I suggest you to check Fear of Dolls.
Darklife / 2005
Drawing upon some of the best acts that have shaped the dark music before anyone came around talking about dark music, Fear of Dolls ought to be a very compelling listen. And indeed they are. She Dances Happily to Happy Songs isnt about dancing and isn’t happy at all, its powerful guitar work, obsessive repetitions and malevolent female vocals. It runs at under half an hour, being effectively a mini-album and does not contain a single passage that is of no interest.
Legends / 2005
Welcome to misnomer central, ladies and gentleman, where we will discuss the Fear of Dolls release: She Dances Happily to Happy Songs. One of the finest examples of misnaming to be found today. From the opening clashes of guitar versus guitar on She Lives Alone, you know from the outset that there probably won’t be many happy thoughts on this five song release from Seattle’s Fear of Dolls.
That’s not to say we don’t have something enlighteningly interesting here. Naming an album as they have, and embellishing it with cut-away images of the brain and nervous system and cut up nuns in a band, makes the moniker obviously satirical and tongue in cheek. Sister Mary’s Scar is strange, with its pulsing bass line and off kilter guitar strains laid against a dragging backbeat. Sharply contracted, the song leaves a lasting impression of the darkest of atmospheres. I triple dog dare you to make it through still hinged.
Saint Dymphnae and Sanguine add vocals again and remain stylistically moody, using similar techniques of clashing guitar rhythms and chord progressions. The break at the end of Sanguine that drops to subliminally charged chirpings is enough to rattle your senses following the previous dirge. Scissors is the most computer-laced track on Happy Songs, and will slide and lunge from chord to chord, wreaking serious havoc on your head.
She Dances Happily to Happy Songs is not an album that you can say you “enjoy”. Rather, you say something like...it’s infected you. You remember it for some time. The music herein creates an extremely dark place and touches you while there...like the fingers of a molester it’ll trace chills down your spine. Very disturbing work.
D-Side (France) / 2005
Le petit théâtre des ombres du projet américain Fear Of Dolls installe une atmosphère confinée, étouffante comme l'antre d'un cabaret anxieux. Versatile, la musicalité de cette formation - mouvante en interne mais menée depuis 1995 et sans faillir par Greg Forschler - invente sur ce nouvel EP (troisième format court depuis 1999 après le maxi When the Organ played at Twilight et le trois-titres Bless this broken Body) un malaise indicible : celui d'un rock d'avant-garde, dont la mélodicité reste toutefois lisible. Prise entre les tourments de l'enfance et de la folie, elle génère sur le canevas de squelettes acoustiques lugubres ("Saint Dymphnæ", "Sanguine") la couche électrique du malaise. Les voix de M. Violet perturbent le jeu, risquent la crispation au-dessus de guitares tendues ("She lives alone") mais dont le déchaînement n'a jamais vraiment lieu, et dont l'arme principale reste la menace. Plus qu'émouvant, et plutôt dérangeant comme affaire.
She Dances Happily To Happy Songs blends guitar noise experimentation, tension and dark atmospheres to form five tracks that are capable of putting the listener in a state of “stand by”. Like murder ballads the songs could be good as soundtracks. Even if the band uses normal rock instruments like acoustic guitar, electric guitar, drums, etc, the way the songs are arranged turn a simple song into something else. The same effect of watching a movie with your eyes closed. You feel yourself lost but you feel that something is going on and you are focused on the sounds you hear. Musically it was like I was listening to a mixture of Bauhaus songs played by the Birthday Party and sung by Lydia Lunch.
Transmission (Germany) / 2004
Applaus! Mit Ihm beginnt dieses Werk, Experimentel, mutig, schräg, verrückt. Diese Band will und kann nicht in Schubladen gepresst werden. Wer sich die drei Song CD (plus Intro und Outro Track) anhört wird gleich durch den opener “Screaming Inside Her” in einen mysteriösen Zauberwald an Klängen entführt, das einsetzten klatschender Hände wirkt dabei noch Hypnotisierender...erst das Mark erschütternde Schreien der Sängerin im Titelsong reißt mich wieder aus diesem verführerischen Soundkarussel. “Bless This Broken Body” steigert sich langsam und unauffällig zu einem intensiven Orkan auf dessen Höhepunkt die Musik in ihre Einzelteile zerfällt. Zum Ende “She Was Laughing” alles klingt sehr fern, verschwindend weit, der passende Ausklang für diese CD mit einem kleinen Aufbegehren auf den letzten Takten... Man kann sie vergleichen mit den Doors (The End), Velvet Underground aber auch Cinema Strange, die Stimme erinnert mich aber gerade bei “Screaming...” sehr an Anne Marie (Skeletal Family). Wer keine Angst vor unkonventionellen Songabläufen und Anspruch hat sollte reinhören.
Darklife / Spring 2003
Three songs of extremely lo-fi schizophrenia, reminiscent of the days when alternative rock music had something to propose in order to qualify as alternative.
Judas Kiss / 2003
Opening with a conventional type of rock track, ‘Screaming Inside of Her’ (after an unnamed short introductory piece of warped laughing box laughter), you could be forgiven for overlooking this five track CD as something or nothing, however once the second and longest track, ‘Bless this Broken Body’, begins, my interest started to build quite considerably as the guitars got louder and less structured and the track become a dumping ground for screamed vocals and walls of noises, before slowly sliding into the already mentioned high point of this release. Fear of Dolls intend to create a striking take on conventional rock music has certainly been achieved as they have managed to produce a short but interesting and oddly unique enough release.
Grave Concerns 2003
On this three song disc it’s as if Seattle band Fear of Dolls know more than how to just create avant garde & unnerving songs but they have really memorized an ingredient of glamorous appetite for sugary sweet dementia that spews from a cauldron with wand in hand spinning inner demons in & out as they grow, sprout & bloom in their bizarre dreamland.
Pretty, twisted, & very dark
D-Side (France) / September/October 2002
Greg Forschler (member de Faith & Disease), Shaun Richards, Bonni Suval et Thomas Purdy sont quatre Américains de Seattle qui insufflent de la théâtralité et une certain folie à une musique plus post-rock déglinguée et aliénante que grunge. Le quatuor n'a pas son pareil pour créer des tensions où l'on sent la chanteuse Bonni Suval au bord de la crise d'hystérie sur fond de guitars pshychotiques et de xylophone angoissant, au rythme de percussions hypnotiques. Et quand Bonni finit par hurler sa douleur sur “Bless this broken body”, cela fait froid dans le dos.
Dream / #3
Escalating anxiety and psychological cobwebs confuse the corners, the room is dark and the air is thick, the music is like a hungry machine powered by human souls. Cannibal clatter and menace, singer Bonni Suval sits down to tea and issues a blood curdling scream. Dusty attics in a madhouse, the narration is the mind peeling off of the wallpaper, sliding down the wall and scowling at the universe like a tantrum that won’t go to sleep.
Kaleidoscope / 2002
“Screaming Inside Her” is an example of what Fear of Dolls do so brilliantly - an unsettling twisted song done in a melodic tribal nursery rhyme style that is both dancy and down beat! The title track is a tortured journey with some Sonic Youth and Siouxsie elements, whilst “She Was Laughing” has an old fashioned, ghostly feel, which conjures up visions of a lost little girl trapped in time, singing to herself.
Fear of Dolls are a gift, creating music of a rare intensity, deeply psychological, beautiful and innocent, balanced on the edge of madness. Extraordinary.
Legends / August 2002
After reviewing this band’s last release, it was evident that their brilliance is with creating a cacophonous nightmare that seemed to be the musical accompaniment to someone else’s insanity. This time, Fear of Dolls seems to have pushed the envelope further.
The hidden first track is a hodgepodge of maniacal laughter heard over the scratches from a vinyl recording. Screaming Inside Her segues from the last track with applause and instruments that are intentionally played out of tune. It has a Euro ballad and twisted polka resonance that simply seems to be right out of an avant-garde film. Bless This Broken Body utilized a more macabre intonation which became more pensive and dark as the guitars and bass worked off of each other. Other instruments kept time with the steady drumming and vocals that simply seemed to be from another place and time. The vocalist letting out with screams toward the end of this track are simply unnerving and believable, that one is inclined to actually feel the rush of adrenaline and fear. This is further enhanced with the variety of sound effects employed immediately afterward that are simply spine chilling to the max. This was not a comfortable song to listen to, nor was it meant to be. If the intention was to make a hair raising track, Fear of Dolls succeeded with doing so rather deftly with this track.
One can never credit Fear of Dolls with generating music for the masses. Their work remains highly unique and nonconforming, yet still quite capable of falling within the paradigms of dark music. This is achieved simply because the subject matter is usually relating to childhood demons that seem to plague insane adults. It is not exactly the type of content that most are comfortable dealing with. On some level, it is reminiscent of the Tara VanFlower solo release This Womb Like Liquid Honey, where she too incorporated the imagery of childhood demons.
Work such as this is meant to create a dialogue between listeners who tend to enjoy dissecting art on many levels. Whether it is meant to jar the lost demons of our own childhood memories or meant to create a debate about what insanity should musically sound like, there is simply enough material to work with to keep folks talking into the very late hours of the night. As with their last release, this is well done, but most certainly for a decidedly more cerebral audience than the average dark music fan.
Chaotic Critiques / 2002
Amorphous soundscapes shimmering on the horizon. Ambient. Folksy. Supernatural. Mysterious. Dark female vocals whisper, sneer, and sing evocatively, ever lurking just out of reach, sinister and yet deceptively fragile, floating through the dark sonic concoctions. Fear of Dolls is at its best on “Fragile Toy”, where a rolling drum pattern, chanted vocals, and a subtle, sweeping atmosphere take on a ritualistic guise, fluidly hypnotic and playfully suspenseful, like the seemingly placid opening sequences of a horror movie, prior to that inevitable moment when the antagonist hits the stage. While the vocalist’s nearly spoken word delivery doesn’t hit me with the same impact as her singing and whispering voices, everything rolls together to form a rather disconcerting and bizarre exploration of the dark sounds that lurk in near silence. But I do think that the band’s more song-oriented moments are the best, where the focus is on hypnotic singing, plaintive and disturbing sonics, and quietly ominous rhythm flows.
Chaotic Order (UK) / #12, 2001
...combining noise, melody, female vocals, percussion in what should be ultimately chaotic but manages to be ordered through the multitude of layers. Unique and certainly easily understandable as to why Nick Zedd chose to use Fear of Dolls on the soundtrack to Thus Spake Zarathustra!
Sideline (Belgium) / #31
Fear Of Dolls music has nothing in common with stereotyped tracks based on a skilful but unproductive cloning of the works of some confirmed predecessors. Indeed most songs on this CD are mainly oriented on creating dark and unusual atmospheres, on giving the impression that music just develops on its own as with the 11 minute long “Bleeding On Her Wings”, where songs such as “The End” by The Doors or “Heroin” by The Velvet Underground are much present in the background. On the other hand there is also a soft and cool ballad, “Fragile Toy”, where Fear Of Dolls prove they can do as good with short and simple melodies. So this is all the musical universe of Fear Of Dolls and my only advice to you is to travel it through, you won’t be deceived.
Maldoror (Spain) / 2001
Primer trabajo de esta banda de Seattle, seis canciones difíciles de etiquetar, y ni falta que hace, porque son fascinantes. Una mezcla personalísima de pasajes luminosos, sonidos retorcidos y tensos, ecos oníricos y atmósferas densas prolongadas hasta la claustrofobia. Como un instrumento más, una voz entre el azúcar y el aguardiente que susurra, canturrea como una niña o se contorsiona con dolor. Es M. Violet, responsable también de las letras. Historias que hablan de santos capaces de escalofriantes milagros, ángeles de trágicos olvidos, metamorfosis en juguetes y otros delirios. Delirios con un sabor infantil que los hace doblemente perversos y amenazantes. Los ojos de un niño velados por la oscuridad. Y todo ello da vida a tristezas de caramelo como “Fragile Toy” (con el agobiante reverso tenebroso “Broken Toy”) o a pesadillas elípticas como “Show Me My Insides”. Cada canción un viaje a experimentar, no quisiera destacar ninguna. Recomendado muy especialmente para aquellos a los que ya cautivó El luto del Ray Cuervo y para los amantes, como yo, de las muñequitas perversas, hmmmm...
Flipside / #122, 2000
Gloomy stuff reminiscent of the more “artistic” bands I remember LA once having, like Savage Republic and bands of that ilk. Noisy in all the right places and pretty darn good overall.
Grindcrusher (Chile) / #6, 2000
De vez en cuando uno tiene la suerte de encontrarse con bandas que en su musica logran plasmar la melancolia y lo tenue de una forma magistral, este es el caso de Fear Of Dolls. Lo depresivo de las guitarras, la voz de M. Violet, algunos toques del folk Bulgaro y Sueco junto a los terrorificos ambientes logrados por los musicos te haran caer en un pozo sin fondo. La musica de FOD es una luz dentro de una depresiva oscuridad, reflejandose en una atmosfera cuasi irreal, virtualmente latente en los sonidos y la voz de esta inconsciente forma de musica. Dark Music seria la definicion mas cercana que podria darles aunque yo comparo este trabajo con los ultimos latidos de un corazon moribundo. Un disco simplemente hermoso.
Chain D.L.K (Italy) / 2000
A record always in perpetual motion, a sort of journey through the deepest form of depression and anguish. Show Me My Insides is an “invitation au suicide” with its noise and its cadenced and martial drum, like a procession towards nightmare’s marshes.
Outburn / May 2000
Taking the listener on a schizophrenic journey through ominous cacophony and radiant beauty, Fear Of Dolls conduct a symphony of droning guitars, striking female vocals, and vibrant percussion that is tempered by delicate acoustic guitar and samples of lovely Swedish and Bulgarian folk music. Even though When The Organ Played At Twilight may be unsettling at times, it is an interesting and enjoyable listening experience.
Sentimentalist / spring 2000
Vocals on this 6-song EP from Seattle’s Fear Of Dolls have a little girl naivetè. This makes for a disturbing sound when blended with the dark pangs of the music. The eerie cacophony of twisting metal clashes against the lyrics on “Show Me My Insides”. “Broken Toy” features an intro with backwards voices and child-like whispers for an over-the-top experimental effect. The overall “impending madness” vibe of the disc is a well-suited match for the surreal (and excellent) Dorothea Tanning painting, featured on the cover. Though this disc sounds like a debut release, it’s at least obvious that a lot of thought went into its concept and themes.
Bizarre (UK) / 2000
Debut release from this American band who avoid genres, but claim an affinity to the likes of The Swans and the Velvet Underground. Their sonic minimalism assaults us with melodic distortions in the vein of early Swans, Sonic Youth, and even Lydia Lunch. Spaced out feedback and aural ambiences overlaid with fragile vocals, puts me in mind of My Bloody Valentine or even a darker Cocteau Twins in places, but overlaid with grungier guitars and more attitude.
Sordid / May 2000
Seattle’s darksiders return with a big barrage of appealing atmospheric noises. Siouxsie and the Banshees and “Pornography”-era Cure are signposts upon the road traveled by Fear Of Dolls, but they don’t tell the whole story. There’s shades of acid-addled psychedelia in there too, the tripped-out sounds of Jefferson Airplane or Pink Floyd. There is definitely some bad craziness going on in the dense fog of noise the band creates. A personal favourite is ‘Fragile Toy’ with the childlike lyrics over the tribal rhythms, but all the tracks have a certain, indescribable power and intensity that’s fairly unique. This band just goes from strength to strength.
Eye / 2000
Songs from this Seattle band sound like chapters from a Grimm Brothers’ anthology set to music, and their mesmerizing nursery rhymes are an engaging mix of tribal undertones, chants, creep-show loops, and quivering trance. When the Organ Played at Twilight is a beautiful experiment in dark folk rock with a sweet seasoning of early Swans, Christian Death, and Death In June. Recommended.
Legends / May 2000
Fear of Dolls presents rhythmic layers of cacophony that may intimidate the less adventurous audiophile. The overall production comes across as ephemeral levels of dementia and abject madness demonstrated by compiled sounds which are utilized to match aberrant cognitive status. It seems as if the band carefully monitored the outer workings of those dredged through insanity to arrange and equate inner turmoil through sonic resonance. We are treated to every conceivable sound from whispers, shouts, blurred church bells, angelic harmony, intense electrified drones and everything in between.
St Dymphna immediately opens with shrill guitars and slow, metronomic beating drums. Lyrically we are dealing with “daddy’s little girl” who has gone over the edge; creating juxtapositions with religious symbolism and reality. Bleeding On Her Wings opens like a tranquil angelic visitation that slowly drones into a barren world fraught with turbulence. An innocent soul, marred by the scarring of evil which slashes upon its life force and watches as life and will slips away. Despite being sung in an objective voice, the sound element gives rise to the possibility of one tormented at seeing a companion or child passing away before their eyes, thereby being the causative factor for the added dimension of madness.
Fragile Toy in some ways translates into child abuse. We have children yet again as the subject matter, who are carved as either boys or girls depending on what the whim for the day happens to be, however they never seem to bleed. The carving may very well be in terms of mental abuse or possibly cross gender attire giving rise to sexual identity confusion. Who the tormentor is does not become clear since we seem to be riding on a memory that tenaciously holds the key to the schizophrenic behavior that is depicted. This is actually the most “commercial” sounding of all the tracks. Show Me My Insides opens with many layers of gongs, white noise, percussion and tension. The vocals are twisted and cut up to bounce between the speakers and pasted upon reverbed and backward style samples. This is a very dark experimental work that depicts madness at its most profound.
Broken Toy is an amalgamation of nightmarish sounds that ends with funereal style organ work that sounds as if it is from a scratchy record. It is a hodgepodge of whispers and voices, episodic heartbeats, wavering energy sounds and depicts one who has completely fallen apart. Persephone Is Scratching borders on being commercially viable yet strays just a touch over to the edge to depict mania and madness to create tones that would place it within the realm of experimental. Despite the mania that is depicted, the vocals are in a slow, sing song style, almost as if one is severely medicated but anticipates the gnawing angst that forever waits just around the bend.
When The Organ Played At Twilight is not your average party record. Choosing to depict mental frailty as a subject matter throughout the entire 6 tracks was either a brave step towards creating an experimental body of work to focus the listener on a realistic hell or the lyricist and arranger had personal demons and traumas from the past that had to be sonically worked out in order to annihilate its grip on their lives. The entire 6 tracks will make you uncomfortable at times which may lead some to reflect on the layers of hell some have endured. We are thrust into an evolutional world that is meant to be uncomfortable in order that our rational ideation of those affected can be seen in a more sympathetic light without painting mawkish platitudes.
StarVox / March 2000
This CD is at times terrifying and peaceful, meditative and insane, beautiful and horrifying. Its the soundtrack to a Kathe Koja novel; its twisted childhood nightmares come alive; its layers upon layers of seductive, evil mind trips. From the disturbing whispers, rants and reverb, to the meditative atmospheres and sometimes eerie angelic vocals of m. violet, the originality and musicianship of this band cannot be praised enough. The visions are dark and sublime and well worth your possession.
hEARd Magazine / February 2000
This is the band’s independent release & it’s quite an interesting release, with the vocal duties performed by m. violet, the rest of the band ably backing her impressive voice up, especially on my pick here, “Fragile Toy”, which is about as upvibe as the music gets.
Throughout, there are a number of interesting effects layered on, such as the crackle at the opening of the final epic number “Persephone Is Scratching”, which is another big highlight, lashings of bass & a sort of ‘spooky’ percussion. While there are going to be moments here that the less adventurous music listener may find disturbing, there’s more than a little to grab their attention.