May 1999
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Dolly Trauma The Present is Dim

A review by Robert Brandt

Upon listening to the first three tracks of this album, one may find themself asking "When did Tool put out a new CD?"

The words, the music...yep, it's Tool.

This is never a bad thing, though, and this CD only gets better as it goes along. More on that later.

While listening to "Stitch," "Alastis," and "Placebo" (tracks 1-3, respectively), my faith in local music was restored, for a couple of reasons.

First off, the sound quality of this CD is superb, and it's not every day that you hear something this well-produced come out of this area. Secondly, if you are going to make three songs that sound like Tool, you'd better do it right, because sometimes they are a hard pill to swallow.

The songs are well-crafted, the playing is excellent, and the vocals stand out.

Then come the fourth and fifth tracks.

Let me just say that I have not heard anything like track 4 come out of my CD player since the last time I played early Tangerine Dream.

Clocking in at just over 28 minutes, this instrumental combines all things "noise rock" with every self-indulgent "prog rock" experiment of the last 30 years (see also: recent Sonic Youth EPs, Medicine's The Buried Life, Peter Hammill's Gog Magog and Tortoise.)

Then out of nowhere, we hear the melodic and acoustic track 5 (sorry, but tracks 4 and 5 were not listed, so I have no titles to write). I'm not sure if Radiohead was a factor or not here, but whatever it is, it's sure better than most acoustic drivel being played at your local open-mic nights in the coffee houses.

So, on a scale of 1-5, I'll give Dolly Trauma's The Present is Dim 4 metal signs for the metal aspects, 5 pairs of rounded spectacles for the experimental aspects, and 4 mocha slides for the all-too-brief acoustic work.

This is the best local CD that I've heard out of Cleveland in years. If Dolly Trauma could merge the three major sounds they demonstrate here, then we may have a great band on out hands.


Editor's Note: Both Dolly Trauma and the writer hail from the Cleveland (more specifically, Kent) area, and that is why he refers to them as a "local" band.

To purchase this record:

Go to the Dolly Trauma website

Email Dolly Trauma

Call Dolly Trauma at: (330) 670-9035

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