Monday, June 17, 2019
Cassette Review //
"Dorys & Eli"
(Sweat Records Records)
Harm me with harmony. When you see a name like Dracula, you might expect that this is going to be in some sort of horror subgenre (shout out to Werewolves in Siberia) but the only thing which makes this scary is how dark it is and how much it reflects so casually on death. While you will hear vocals from both Dorys Bello and Eli Oviedo, sometimes they are at the same time and other times one takes the lead over the other. They have certain songs where they sing together and certain songs where one takes the lead.
Along with these most powerful vocals you will find an acoustic guitar at all times, plucking notes and strumming the chords. There are very few other instruments on this cassette and when they do appear (such as a trumpet) it is not for very long. So it is fairly accurate to think of these dreamy melodies as being mostly just vocals + guitar. In this way, it has a folk sense about it, somewhere between Simon & Garfunkel and Johnny Cash & June Carter.
Some songs are in Spanish, some are in English and by the end they do a cover of the "Princess Monoke" theme which just leaves me all confused about languages. Imagine someone watching a Japanese film with Spanish subtitles... Yeah, I probably know people who have done it, but it's just a concept that didn't occur to me before this cassette made its way into my speakers.
Through this beauty you will find lines, such as in "Cruel War", of "I'll pass as your comrade / No one will ever know / Won't you let me go with you" which reminds me of the story of "Mulan". Somewhere between "Desperado", "Rango" and a little bit of "Coco" this just seems to be writing its own film. While "Butcher Boy" can feel upbeat in the music it has a defining dark side to the lyrics, as it is about a suicide and then "Down In The Willow Garden" is just a confession to murder. In that sense, these songs- lyrically- remind me of Two Gallants.
In some ways these songs remind me of ghost stories. They seem innocent enough when you consider the music and the way the singing just flows with pure beauty and love, but then when you really pay closer attention to the lyrics you realize that they might very well give you nightmares. I definitely enjoy that contrast of styles- to be crude it's like if there was an acoustic lullaby version of songs by the Misfits. This just works-- they just make it work-- and it's so delightfully haunting.