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Danielle French

Danielle French presents...Miss Scarlet and the Madmen “Dark Love Songs”

Review by Gary Hill

This is an unusual and intriguing album. It’s also one that’s likely to make my “best of 2016” list. I’ve included this under progressive rock, but I can see some people arguing with that label. It certainly fits from a creative point of view. It’s also very similar to some of the dark prog coming out these days. Admittedly there is a definite Gothic texture to this, along with a lot of psychedelia and world music. Whether you agree with the prog label or not, though, you really should give this a try. It’s a very special album.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2016  Volume 4 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Last Goodbye

This song is so powerful. It’s dark and psychedelic in texture. There is very much a modern progressive rock angle to it. It’s slow moving and lush. I can’t imagine a better opening song for this set.

Take My Love
With retro musical sounds and something a bit like Gothic rock built into it, this is an energetic cut and another strong one. There are definitely modern prog things here, too. It’s moody and rather jazzy in some ways. The closing segment has some real psychedelic space built into it.
Did You Want Me
There is really a 1960s kind of vibe to this in a lot of ways. It’s psychedelic in texture. Yet some of the shifts and changes are decidedly proggy. The hooks on the song are set in 1960s pop rock for sure. This is energized and powerful.
It Must Be Roses
Traditional music and a Gothic psychedelic prog arrangement seem to merge here. This makes me think of a darker, more psychedelic take on the kind of thing Blackmore’s Night does. There is a bit of a Kate Bush vibe here, too. This song is another strong cut on a disc with no weak material.
Black Sunday
This is a very old time world music styled piece. It’s incredibly powerful and poignant. It’s not really prog rock at all. Still, it’s dark, creative and so evocative. It’s another that makes me think of Blackmore’s Night.
Splinters
A much more prog related song, this is still dark and very pretty. It’s basically a balladic piece. It’s quite trippy in a lot of ways. There is definitely a lot of folk music built into this.
My Shadow and Me
I love the multi-layered vocal arrangement on this. It’s got a lot of psychedelia in the mix. It’s also dark and yet catchy and energized. There is definitely a Goth element here.
This is Why We Drink
Very much an old school folk song, this is still rather trippy in terms of the arrangement. It’s also fun.
Last Goodbye
The strings on this lend such a melancholy tone. The piece is beautiful and quite classical in nature. The non-lyrical vocals over the top bring something special to this, as well. Other than those vocals, this is purely instrumental.
 
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