REVIEW: The Lady of the House of Scandal - "The White Ship"

By Ray Van Horn, Jr.

Chain Border

The White ShipBefuddling, and most certainly irreverent, this cryptic offering from the Australian duo The Lady of the House of Scandal offers a thirty-nine minute odyssey of experimental trance and fugue that borders on narcolepsy at times. Fortunately, LOTHOS knows when to invigorate the listener out of his stymied existence with the sensuous vocals and fluttering flutes of Angela Grima and the smooth electronica of her partner-in-crime, Peter Crane.

Hard to stomach at times, The White Ship is a sloshy ride down the River Styx with this hybrid concoction that envies to be Celtic, yet resigns to borderline on the mythological. There is a jagged feeling to Grima and Crane's craft that suggests they want a crack at scoring a meaner version of Lord of the Rings.

True Sight opens the disc promisingly with a serene synth syncopation ala Baxter that sadly sweeps into a gloom; a gloom repeated throughout the remainder of this odd journey. Grima's operatic pipes keeps the song honest, as they do on Song of the Succubus, which flow with siren-like fluidity. Her vocals are haunting and liberating at the same time, which is where LOTHOS succeeds best. Unfortunately, there are not enough of them on the remaining tracks to maintain one's interest. Still, her crackling Tibetan bells and airy flute work are accented by Crane's reverberating keyboards which homogenize best on Garden of Sorrow, the most poignant song of the album.

Hallucinogenic Dreams, Hypothermia and Vampyric Touch are head-scratchers where Crane shows off his eclectic twangs which hint a cross between the compositions of Morton Subotnik and Walter Carlos. The title song features an onslaught of doom-laden electronic pulses that gives the same feeling of hopelessness as depicted in the rowing scene in Ben-Hur. As a sidebar, the quirky and short Sol had me thinking briefly of The Butthole Surfers' Whatever (I Had a Dream). As Gibby Haines might say to this dead-end song, "Yeah, whatever."

There seems to be no other way to describe LOTHOS but comatose yet menacing. The Seduced Mix of Song of the Succubus displays a conventional approach to their dark-spirited songwriting, injecting a shot of electronic soul into a predominantly soulless album. Forgive me if I find forty minutes of bullroarer swinging more invigorating. Nevertheless, for all of its aggravations, The White Ship is intriguing; as intriguing as anything I've heard in quite some time.

Contact Information:
Post: The Lady of the House of Scandal, 5/26 Rotherwood St., Richmond, 3121, Melbourne, VIC, Australia

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