CD Review

Fear of Dolls - "When the Organ Played at Twilight"

By Mike Ventarola

When the Organ Played at TwilightBand Lineup:
M. Violet - Vocals, Lyrics, Prayer Beads, percussion
Joel Bergstrom - Bass guitar, Keyboard
Shaun Richards - Drums, Percussion
Greg Forschler - Guitar

Fear of Dolls presents rhythmic layers of cacophony that may intimidate the less adventurous audiophile. The overall production comes across as ephemeral levels of dementia and abject madness demonstrated by compiled sounds which are utilized to match aberrant cognitive status. It seems as if the band carefully monitored the outer workings of those dredged through insanity to arrange and equate inner turmoil through sonic resonance. We are treated to every conceivable sound from whispers, shouts, blurred church bells, angelic harmony, intense electrified drones and everything in between.

St Dymphna immediately opens with shrill guitars and slow, metronomic beating drums. Lyrically we are dealing with "daddy's little girl" who has gone over the edge; creating juxtapositions with religious symbolism and reality. Bleeding On Her Wings opens like a tranquil angelic visitation that slowly drones into a barren world fraught with turbulence. An innocent soul, marred by the scarring of evil which slashes upon its life force and watches as life and will slips away. Despite being sung in an objective voice, the sound element gives rise to the possibility of one tormented at seeing a companion or child passing away before their eyes, thereby being the causative factor for the added dimension of madness.

Fragile Toy in some ways translates into child abuse. We have children yet again as the subject matter, who are carved as either boys or girls depending on what the whim for the day happens to be, however they never seem to bleed. The carving may very well be in terms of mental abuse or possibly cross gender attire giving rise to sexual identity confusion. Who the tormentor is does not become clear since we seem to be riding on a memory that tenaciously holds the key to the schizophrenic behavior that is depicted. This is actually the most "commercial" sounding of all the tracks. Show Me My Insides opens with many layers of gongs, white noise, percussion and tension. The vocals are twisted and cut up to bounce between the speakers and pasted upon reverbed and backward style samples. This is a very dark experimental work that depicts madness at its most profound.

Broken Toy is an amalgamation of nightmarish sounds that ends with funereal style organ work that sounds as if it is from a scratchy record. It is a hodgepodge of whispers and voices, episodic heartbeats, wavering energy sounds and depicts one who has completely fallen apart. Persephone Is Scratching borders on being commercially viable yet strays just a touch over to the edge to depict mania and madness to create tones that would place it within the realm of experimental. Despite the mania that is depicted, the vocals are in a slow, sing song style, almost as if one is severely medicated but anticipates the gnawing angst that forever waits just around the bend.

When The Organ Played At Twilight is not your average party record. Choosing to depict mental frailty as a subject matter throughout the entire 6 tracks was either a brave step towards creating an experimental body of work to focus the listener on a realistic hell or the lyricist and arranger had personal demons and traumas from the past that had to be sonically worked out in order to annihilate its grip on their lives. The entire 6 tracks will make you uncomfortable at times which may lead some to reflect on the layers of hell some have endured. We are thrust into an evolutional world that is meant to be uncomfortable in order that our rational ideation of those affected can be seen in a more sympathetic light without painting mawkish platitudes.

Contact Information:
Post: Fear Of Dolls, P.O. Box 20151, Seattle, WA 98102