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the pathetic caverns - music by artist - Creeping Myrtle

eclectic reviews and opinions

Creeping Myrtle

Ode to the Urchin

(Doldrum Records, 1999)

Ode to the Urchin is generally well-played and well-recorded, but suffers from a limited sonic and stylistic palette. Randall Prater has an honest, untrained, "everyman" sort of voice with an agreeable huskiness. His songs favor minor key progressions, often on built on densely strummed, clear-toned guitar parts with ringing open strings. The emphasis is is more on evoking a mood than on creating memorable melodic hooks, which contributes to the saminess of the disc. The most successful songs tend to be the most intricately arranged: "Acidophilus" shifts between fast and slow sections with a a pair of e-bowed guitars expressing a stately melody above the churn; "Step in the Sun" benefits greatly from the piano and acoustic guitar contributions of Peter Sawtell. Prater's lyrics offer an ode to depression ("A Good Mope") and the usual goth references to horror films ("Caroline") and fantasy ("Queen Mab," "Departure Never Leaves"). Even songs with titles like "The Nether Reaches of Florid Dandyism" are delivered in what sounds like earnest (although perhaps the wah-wah guitar solo is meant to connote irony).

Ultimately, it's a good effort, but Prater's angst isn't compelling enough to transcend the limitations of its genre. Prater and drummer Gary Hunt, who is energetic, if not imaginative, rock a little harder than many other goth contenders (it's even slightly reminiscent of Fields of the Nephilim in a few places), but the record is unlikely to find many fans who are not already aficianados of the genre

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