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Dowling Poole; The: Bleak Strategies

It's fair to suggest that the fallout from Ginger Wildheart's record breaking Pledge campaign, 555%, reaches far further than the Wildheart man finally making himself a decent living from the music biz. In that album's wake, not only has GW spawned a Pop side project, an Extreme Metal outing and another solo offering, but just as Ginger himself seems to eschewing the crowd funding platform, so contributors to his projects are releasing a whole host of excellent albums through Pledge. Eureka Machines, The God Damn Whores, Jackdaw4, CJ Wildheart, and a solo effort from 'Random' Jon Poole have all utilised the system, having witnessed firsthand the benefits of directly engaging their fanbase. And the family continues to grow, with Jackdaw4 (RIP) leader Willie and God Damn Whores mainman 'Random' Jon teaming up for The Dowling Poole.

With both main protagonists having a sharp wit, a love of the unexpected and a wide set of musical reference points, Bleak Strategies should have found a marriage made in heaven and thankfully it has proved exactly so. The character of both Dowling and Poole impressively shining through, with both dominating and complimenting in equal measure and creating a balancing act to be admired in the process.

"The Sun Is Mine" is the perfect starting point (just as well; it opens the album) a bright mix of keys, guitars and vocals combining in an explosion of Jackdaw4 breaching their restraining order and harassing the Beach Boys into giving up all their best "pap-pap-paaaaaaaah's". It's beyond cheerful, yet there's a niggling snarl biting at your trouser leg and shredding your plimsolls, before "A Kiss In The Ocean" adds a dark 80s Pop sheen as you whoop for joy and clap uncontrollably. Already WD and 'R'JP have swapped the microphone between them for lead vocals and the blurred lines between who brought what to the party makes for a difficult, joyful game of guess who wrote what. The words collabor and ation writ large everywhere you turn.

Cleverly each dash of glorious melody is tempered with an intense need to offer the unexpected, whether that be through wandering brass, the "clung" of harpsichord, or madcap rhythms. First impressions reveal an almost frivolous bent "Saving It All For A Saturday" a strange knees up sing along on LSD, "Empires, Buildings And Acquisitions" what The White Album Beatles may have sounded like if they'd spent a lot of their time writing the most memorable TV themes and jingles we've ever heard, as Dowling indeed has; the depth of what has been created here being quite breathtaking.

Add the grinning madness of the shimmering spaciness of "Where The Memories Fester" where it becomes possible to imagine The Wildhearts tumbling into The Police via Sparks, while sounding like none of the above, the floating float of floatiness that is "Twilight Subplot" or the cheek reddening slap of Beatlesy Pop that is "Getting A Licence" and really it's hard not to be completely sold on the best melodies 2014 has been lucky enough to hear so far.

It's a real shame that we live in an age where to be considered quirky enough to attain chart success in a world of bland you have to wear dresses made of cow farts, sing of girls kissing girls who kiss girls as they kiss cream shooting boobed girls, or speak in threatening tones and Tourette your fothermucking way through a song. For The Dowling Poole should be huge, whether that be through the memorable hook laden nature of their songs, or their razor sharp lyrical content which highlights the humour and futility of everyday life. If you're looking for some of the best Pop, Rock, gently Progressive shimmers of melody strewn lovely lewdness, Bleak Strategies is all of them rolled into some of the best songwriting you could hope for. Go get it. Now.

Track Listing
1. The Sun Is Mine
2. A Kiss On The Ocean
3. Hey Stranger
4. Saving It All For A Saturday
5. Paper, Scissors, Stone
6. Empires, Buildings and Acquisitions
7. Where The Memories Fester
8. Twilight Subplot
9. Getting A Licence
10. Clean

Added: June 15th 2014
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: The Dowling Poole on Soundcloud
Hits: 2773
Language: english

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