FROM DUNGEON’S LUXURY OF DOUBT
The Nature Of Gothic
~reviewed by Mick Mercer
I wonder how people like David Quinn will be judged, and who they’ll be placed alongside, if journalists of the future ever wake up and get round to regarding Goth as one of the most cerebrally uplifting forms of music? Will he be cast as a latter day Leonard Cohen figure? He’s almost miserable enough.
I could be a cheerful old sod, but not detecting much in the way of irony here, I think David exorcises some partial demons, without ever choking up the full bile he may have stored inside. He clearly doesn’t actually want to go too far down the corridor marked Psychiatric Guidance, and so these are sheltered songs, finely crafted and fit for almost any cogitative state you may have building up. It’s background music, where you don’t want to be looking over your shoulder.
One man and his musical arsenal, the eight tracks rarely get above the middling pace of gloom, other than some feisty guitar flexibility, and so you are kept in place by the wash of autumnal guitar and husky vocals. All of which is surprisingly pleasant, despite the lyrical mire.
Typically, as in ‘Rain’ or ‘Electric’ you’ll have sombre bedposts, inside which a pained voice breaks forth, and then a touch of spiky guitar rips up through the mattress. When there are deviations from this, it’s usually some divertingly beautiful musical touches where the song’s sinuses get a quick clean out, allowing a niftier rhythm to break out, a bit of space.
It all hangs together fantastically well and works as a collection you know you’ll return to, but only when the mood is right. I would have like more of the prettier moments that he allows glimpses of, and a touch more stillness, because the subtle guitar layers can be obstructive, and mainly I would like less vocal affectation. No one is born speaking like this, and you’re not Lee Marvin at David’s age, so unless he actually sounds like Mr Bean I don’t see the problem. True, the voice sounds normal in ‘Hidden’ if rather small, but that’s preferable to the overwrought style that really got on my nerves during ‘Drown’, but a lot of singers do it. It’s generic. Its time will pass.
Given that it isn’t brightness and choruses, I suppose the standout for me was ‘Why I Hate Children’ which was full of grim guitar and bleak thoughts, ending with austere gargling. Good job he never became a teacher.