Peter Dolving: Thieves and Liars – album review

Peter Dolving – Thieves and Liars (House Of Dolving)

CD/DL
Out: Now

Ex-Haunted frontman Peter Dolving presents solo record on Killing Cobra. Ray Burke investigates.

Peter Dolving was, until recently, the lead singer of the trash metal band the Haunted, a band he had fronted and left once before. Prior to the Haunted, he was the front man for Mary Beats Jane. He’s a seasoned performer who has been releasing, and recording music for twenty years. As well known for online ramblings as his musical pursuits, he has the ability to polarize. Recently he has been vocal about frustrations with ex band mates, and record labels. He has had a turbulent career to date, with heights, – two Swedish Grammy wins, and lows – drug addiction, and depression.

Thieves and Liars is his first solo album proper; and it is quite a departure from the Haunted. The album suggests that it may have been Dolving who opened the door to a more “experimental” sound of later albums from the Haunted. Albums that didn’t find favour with all fans, many were critical of what they saw as a commercial approach. Thieves and Liars€™ is still rooted in a rock/metal/emo tradition guitar and vocal wise, but the palette has broadened, influences are recognizable, but they’re worn firmly on the sleeves.

In July last year he escaped to a stimulating environment with friends to record a no frills record, possibly inspired by what he saw as the failure of their last album, recorded when he was still a member of the Haunted. It’s a good indication of his headspace at the time, “fuck those tweaking sons of bitches” maybe a jab at his (then) band mates, but also in how the album is proactive attempt to escape the confines of the genre he was feeling repressed by.

Opener ‘Meinhof’ begins like a David Holmes track, and develops into a Joy Divisionesque atmosphere replete with Ian Curtis like vocals in the beginning that morph into a more rock n’ roll delivery as the song progresses. It’s melodic, combining keyboards with guitar that demonstrates Dolving’s vocal ability and love for music outside the genres he’s usually associated with. ‘Song for You’ bursts open with some guitar riff age and is maintained throughout, not the worst track on the album, it just lacks innovation, and intensity. Dolving’s self confessional lyrics are relayed through varied vocal stylings, his voice is treated at times, but the layered vocals here further prove his ability as a singer.

The problem isn’t his vocal prowess, several tracks begin with long instrumental intros that build soundscapes that are little more than studio jams, when Dolving does sing, the emphasis is on what he is saying, and lyrically this album is really poor. The grinding guitars of ‘One Sweet Moment’ are accompanied with Marilyn Manson like vocals and awful lines like “If I was president…I’d have them soldier boys building schools.”

‘Cocksucker Blues’ shares little but a title with the well known Rolling Stones “Fuck you” to Decca. Its emotional rock with musings of suicide, lyrics such as “No more regression bullshit parody” are confusing, considering this is regressive music? The talk of suicide corresponds with the following track ‘My will to die’, one of the poorest tracks on the album with vocals that veer towards a teary disclosure and lyrics that would be at home scrawled on a teenager’s school bag. It has Nine Inch Nails lite atmosphere, as do several of the tracks, particularly the following track, piano led autobiographical ‘No Solicitors . The dramatic delivery is an attempt to create a foreboding mood, but isn’t successful. ‘Sunday mornings’ with the line “Here’s my 105 blue love song” suggests practice does not make perfect and the attempted surrealist atmosphere of ‘Ordinary Folk’ falls flat. The whole album reeks of a “woe is me” tone, and it’s difficult to relate to.

Earlier track, single ‘Hands On’ has been available via Bandcamp for a while, and it has found favor with fans. It’s a quickly accessible number that wouldn’t be out of place on some rock/metal music channel. It again demonstrates why he has been the go to man for several bands. Over the years he has amassed a sizable CV as a guest vocalist. ‘Hands On’ shares the same burst of energy as ‘Song for You’, and later track, the timely placed ‘So Sick’. These injections of energy aren’t successful in pumping life into the album makes for a weary listen. By the time you get to closer ‘All this beauty’, with it’s long instrumental intro, and reiterated emotional, confessional out pour, the album has truly worn out its welcome.

Dolving’s attempts at experimenting with preconceptions of himself as an artist, and unashamedly trying new things is admirable, but there is nothing new here for the listener.

His aim to make a straight up Rock n’ Roll record and to shake off the shackles of his trash metal past is a departure for him. However, trying something new for him doesn’t equate to innovation for us, whether you’re leaving studio noise in to demonstrate the relaxed tone of the sessions, using samples to create drama, or investigating vocal layers, and tone, all these things have been done to greater effect elsewhere. The result is something that will be a curiosity for fans, but won’t succeed in him acquiring new ones.

Thieves and Liars€™ is repetitive, often boring, and at times downright silly. That repetition is mostly down to inane lyrics, and even though tracks portray a spirited effort at diversity, they often end up sounding the same. Dolving has delusions of grandeur, not unusual in Rock n’ Roll, but he lacks the ability to back up his convictions.

Links

Stream tracks and but the album HERE.

All words by Ray Burke. More by Ray HERE

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