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DOLITTLE – Hello to the fortunate few (CD, Punk Elvis Records)

Posted: January 6th, 2007, by Simon Minter

Dolittle is a veritable early-90s-indie-fan’s dream, as the fine diagram to be found on their CD and website makes clear. Ange Dolittle, who did his time in years gone by with Eat, We Know Where You Live and Big Yoga Muffin, has teamed up with Oxfordshire brothers Mr. G and Rich in this new project; and this album is produced by Miles Hunt of The Wonder Stuff and Vent414. It’s like going back in time, and yet not going back in time.

The feel across the twelve tracks here is one of cynical, emotionally-damaged angst, set to a relatively gentle style of off-kilter guitar sing-song simplicity. The music isn’t going to set the world on fire, but it’s pleasant enough listening, with hints of not only the bands mentioned above but also a smattering of the weird guitar popitude of Pavement, Pixies and – at a stretch – Talking Heads.

It’s very much Ange’s show, with his voice mixed to the fore and lyrics delivered in a clear and considered manner. At times the self-consciously bitter and self-deprecating lyrics can grate; as if the desperation to seem as odd and as mixed-up as possible has resulted in lyrics that can be opaque and difficult to relate to. When the guard is dropped, though, as on ‘Shame’ and ‘Epicure’, Dolittle are a far more engaging prospect. They exude real emotion, rather than a shrouded, self-mocking posturing.

With at least two of the tracks here being reworkings of old Eat songs, and one a Wonder Stuff cover, it’s hard to place Dolittle in the context of anything except those happy indie-explosion days of the early 90s. I’m not sure that’s such a bad place to be. Sometimes the present can be too much of a challenge.

Punk Elvis Records

Simon Minter

Simon joined diskant after falling on his head from a great height. A diskant legend in his own lifetime Simon has risen up the ranks through a mixture of foolhardiness and wit. When not breaking musical barriers with top pop combo Sunnyvale Noise Sub-element or releasing records in preposterously exciting packaging he relaxes by looking like Steve Albini.


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