Doll by Doll - Revenge of Memory
This CD is the first and only Doll by Doll material to be made available on CD - the five albums the band made and released during their career remain unavailable since the time of their original release back between 1978 and 1982. This live recording sees the band at the Sheffield Limit Club in 1977, before they signed their first deal and released debut "Remember" for Automatic Records.
Jackie Leven formed Doll By Doll in 1975 with Jo Shaw (guitar), Robin Spreafico (bass) and David McIntosh (drums), disbanding in 1983. They were adored and hated in equal measure by music fans and critics alike. This album came about after fan Nick Nolan was handed a tape by the man at the sound desk at the end of the gig back in 1977. It shows - the production on this CD is pretty poor, thin and sounding just like a tape recorded off a sound desk. The band is presented, warts and all, occasionally out of tune (in fact, often out of tune, particularly on second song, "Butcher Boy"). However, for fans of this long forgotten band, that won't matter. For everyone else in the world though, it does make it a rather painful listening experience.
The vocal on "Butcher Boy" aside (which is just excruciatingly bad), the songs on here are pretty good. It has a sound somewhere between classic rock, punk and progressive rock. The songs are long, with plenty of guitar doodling adding to the live experience. Opening track "Chances" suffers the most for the bad recording, the opening really muted, without any clarity or shine. Also, for a live album, the venue sounds incredibly empty - almost as if Mick Nolan and the soundman were all standing there on their own. No wonder he gave him the tape, he probably felt sorry for him.
Best track is easily "Sleeping Partners", which bounces along at a fair old speed, full of brilliant guitar and a cracking backbeat. "More Than Human" though sounds terrible, a very intrusive hiss sounding throughout rendering the song almost unlistenable. Closing track "The Palace of Love" also has plenty of hiss, but is interesting enough so you don't really notice it.
Fans of the band are going to love this. I am sure as well that Mick Nolan is pretty pleased that he hung onto this tape and didn't sling it out. However, for the rest of the planet, and lets face it, that’s the majority, the bad recording and the constant hiss are not going to put this top of anyone’s list.