"Still waters run deep when you're crying"
Brian May | Australia | 12/01/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"If I had to choose just one word to describe "Doughboy Hollow", it would be "magnificent". Fortunately, I can use as many words as I please, so here they are: wonderful, sublime, magical, brilliant, extraordinary. Music fans all have their "all time favourite" lists and "desert island" albums, magazines continue to publish similar "ultimate" compilations. Well, if I had my way, this album would be in them all! The fourth album by this terrific Australian group, "Doughboy Hollow" is a very unassuming, practically low-key effort. It's a very downbeat work, although this is by no means a criticism. The songs are of a depressing nature, but they won't make you commit suicide (or make it trendy, as Kurt Cobain did) - rather they are more reflective and melancholy. They deal with loss, loneliness, self doubt and disappointment - attributes which everyone has suffered (or at least, anyone who has appreciated the trials and tribulations of life). Rather than starting the album with a loud bang or a long fade-in, the band chose "Doused" - a gentle broken chord opens the way for a beautifully sad song about gambling; the song's protagonist realises his "Midas touch has all dried up". The mystifying chorus, "Here's the seven, come eleven" makes sense when you realise that these numbers are "natural" dice rolls. At the end the narrator screams "I keep feeding this thing, somebody fetch my gun". Downbeat? Depressing? Certainly, but engaging and sympathetic. Like the rest of the album. "D.C." is one of the band's most well known songs, and is one of their most straightforward - a farewell to a departed friend, backed by a memorable piano opening and a gorgeous violin solo (courtesy of Amanda Brown). Singer Ron Peno, who mostly screeches unintelligible grunts and semi-words, is also capable of delivering soft and soothing sentences. On this album, there is more of the latter. However, the ambiguous and difficult to decipher lyrics and content remain in places "Sweetheart" is a dark love song, "Godbless" is a tribute to the Australian group The Sunnyboys (and also seems to refer to overcoming heroin addiction). "Satisfied" and "Stop Myself" are also songs true to the melancholic feel of the album mentioned above - the former is a six minute ballad, the latter is a musically bright and cheery pop song, with lyrics belying the positive sound. "Battle of Stanmore" is perhaps the most baffling of all - Peno sounds like he is either singing through a megaphone or a Walkman - to an almost martial rhythm. (Stanmore is a suburb in the inner west of Sydney, and the title could be a take on Led Zeppelin's "Battle of Evermore", but that's just a theory with nothing to support it). "The Love Song" is ironically titled (like R.E.M.'s "The One I Love") - a very clearly communicated tale of rejection. This song seems to be part of a trilogy - the next song, the wonderful "Disaster", is almost a self delusional plea to the rejecting partner, based on the belief (or hope) that things will be perfect again, while "Out in the Rain" is an acceptance of the inevitable. Most of us have been through this trilogy, and that is what makes the album so memorable. It expresses the pains and hurts of life. The final song, "Turn Your Head" encapsulates all of this - achingly beautiful, with a vocal bridge that gives me goosebumps. "Doughboy Hollow" doesn't have a bad song on it. It is wonderful. One of the best albums ever made? That depends on your subjectivity. Based on my own, absolutely."
email@example.com | Bethesda, MD, USA | 11/01/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I just noticed this again in my CD collection and decided to play it. Brings back memories of seeing the band live in Melbourne (Australia) many years ago. While the band definitely was a bit rough around the edges when live, the quality on the CD leaves nothing to be desired. It is fairly mellow 80s rock but it has not aged badly.I remember buying the CD originally for the track "D.C" but his is one of those few albums where there are no bad or boring tracks. What better recommendation can I give than that?"