Dakrya – Crime Scene – 3/5
It never ceases to amaze me how important geographical location can have on determining a band's success, and sadly for these Greeks they find themselves in the wrong country to get their music known; a “Stolen Babies” comparison finds itself more than a little justified, taking a theatrical, gothic, dark cabaret approach to their material that finds itself often sounding a little like a nursery rhyme from hell, evil clowns smiling vindictively as the happy tones bely the overwhelming darkness that occurs in the background. And with the same man responsible for producing Diablo Swing Orchestra's debut you could expect a plethora of alternative instruments to find its way to the forefront, but not enough does in the end; that almost 'Tim Burton's Circus of Horrors' use of xylophones adding it's final touches to the proceedings in the opening track never making itself known throughout the album as it could.
In fact, for all the members it feels as though there's so much wasted talent. It all feels fairly conventional in it's use of guitars and bass forming the main framework, doing little more than supplying a rhythm with flourishes of other elements adding flavour. There's so much more that could be done with the musicians at their disposal, not in the least the fact there are three vocalists, two female and one male, and yet for all the theatrical chaos they could create with overlapping guitar lines, bantering between one another, it is the lead woman that dominates over so much of the proceedings. It's all just a touch bland and too content to sit on their basic compositions; a simple guitar riff breaking off for a basic keyboard riff to maintain a rather thin feeling backing; occasionally they'll transition to something more inspired for a moment but it won't be long before they return right back to the source of the problem.
But after all, my major gripe remains that it feels just a little too much like Stolen Babies; Avant-Garde to me is all about pushing boundaries of convention and coming up with something that no other artist can compare to. That it often feels so similar is a disappointing fact only compensated by the fact that this is the closest thing to a second Stolen Babies album I've come across, and in that respect it doesn't do too bad a job of a more guitar-centric, less schizophrenic interpretation of their Dark Cabaret influenced brand of Avant-Garde. There's nothing specifically wrong with it all, I just can't see myself returning to it any time soon.
Highlights: The Charlatans, Phantasmagoria