Danny Cohen – Shade of Dorian Gray (CD)

The veteran Cohen is back for another round. Individuals might be familiar with eir last full-length, “We’re All Gunna Die”. This is Cohen’s fourth full-length playing solo, after a career making music with the act Charleston Grotto. The disc starts out with “Prayer in the Black and White”, a track that has a set of vocals that are not quite unlike a blend of Mick Jagger and Warren Zevon.

The instrumentation on the track is slow and plodding to match the more calm stylings of Cohen during this track. The track is four and a half minutes long, but this extended length is not a big deal as Cohen has more than enough ability to tell a story with eir vocals and lyrics on this track. One has no idea where Cohen is happy or sad, as the cracking voice of “Avian Blues” sounds tortured even as there are hints of happiness present. A lot of the constructs on “Shade of Dorian Gray” do not mesh perfectly with what is considered “good music” nowadays. This means that the vocals do not always stay in key, and the instrumentation is deadpan through most of the songs. Again, this is not a bad thing, but rather is Cohen’s unique way of conveying eirself on this album. The odd wind-sounding instrumentation present on “For George Bailey, LaPado and Bottom” is another thing that makes this album so compelling.

There is a certain rhythm that Cohen slinks into during “Shade of Dorian Gray” that has a current allure to it; while the songs are definitely rooted in a past, individuals that are listening in today will find something that they like with the disc. Cohen has crammed this album full of music. Easily breaking the hour mark, “Shade of Dorian Gray” is an album that provides listeners with a cohesive entity but an entity that has a tremendous amount of variation in each tentacle. There is a sense of despair that does come forth on a number of tracks, such as “Vertigo”, but this is the only real thread aside from Cohen’s talent that comes shining through on this disc. Give this disc a go if you like indie music that pushes the perceptions of what the genre should be and what it should sound like; Cohen is a breath of fresh air, any way you cast it. For fans of the genre, or of good music all together.

Top Tracks: Drawing in the Dark, Avian Blues

Rating: 6.4/10

[JMcQ]

Danny Cohen – Shade of Dorian Gray / 2006 Anti / 16 Tracks / http://www.anti.com/artist.php?id=8 / http://www.anti.com/ Reviewed 26 January 2007

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