am obsessed with this album. I am so obsessed that I have
deleted at least ten starts to what will eventually become a
review, mostly because Edmund & Leo is
so much more than I expected, even after fully absorbing Dunn's
last outstanding release, The Neglected
It is so much more, in fact, that I want to send a copy to
every writer in existence just to share the music. I want to
put together a band and an elaborate international tour
complete with full fifty or hundred voice choir so people could
hear Dunn in a setting worthy of this album. I want to swamp
radio, Internet and otherwise with reviews, and put together
fully professional videos for music video freaks.
Unfortunately, that takes money and money is in short supply
around the old homestead these days. But if I had it, I would.
Swear to God.
Because when the music is this good, you want to do something.
Back in the old days you could tuck an album under your arm and
head to a friend's house to trade turns on the turntable. You
could tell people about music and, amazingly, some of those
people would listen.
You could give albums as gifts and sometimes they were accepted
gracefully and maybe even eventually coveted as much by the
person to whom you gave it as by yourself. I miss those days
when I hear albums like this because I know that many of my old
friends would listen and at least try to hear a semblance of
what I hear. What do I hear? A lot.
If I didn't know
better, I would think Edmund & Leo (the
song)an intro to the
album as a whole, but Dunn denies it. She pointed out not long
ago that it was different than the rest of the album and I get
that, but only to a degree. It does have that intro feel to it
but by the time you get to the closing track, Meteor
Shower, I get the feeling
an intro to Meteor Shower's
Bookends to the whole work, as it were.
between those two songs are ten stunners (which makes twelve
total, just in case math is not your strong suit). Ten
beauties, ranging from the very folk rockin' Change
the Record (with
twelve-string riffs to bring the sixties back from the dead) to
the song with an absolute killer chorus (Buffoon
Man--- I tell you, it
sends shivers up my spine) to the just short of Broadway Tuxedo
Cat to the Beach Boys-y
that outro capper, Meteor Shower,
a real show-ender if ever there was one.
has outdone even the output of The Neglected
which was an album of which anyone would be proud. Song after
song, the album builds and builds until the curtain drops (in
my head, with the band still playing and the music going on and
on and the crowd digging every beat and off-beat as the energy
dies for lack of fuel). There are equal parts rockin' live
band, orchestra, and session band in the mix and maybe a little
Ziegfeld Follies kick here and there, as well.
this is what separates Edmund & Leo
the pack: production and/or arrangement. This album is so well
put together it takes my breath away. Every song, every
movement and every damn note
right where it needs to be to put this over the top. The
sequencing of songs alone freaks me out and when you get into
how they stacked the voices and the instruments--- man, it just
doesn't get any better! I have no idea how many hours Dunn and
co-producer/magic man/sideman Peter
into this, but it must have been hundreds. The voices, all
Dunn's, are used to magnify the music--- in duets and trios and
quartets and choruses and almost choirs. They are everything
from the full-on angelic choir to the doop-doops and oo-wahs
and last for a whole chorus or only one note. Hackett, who
plays every instrument except drums (handled very ably by Damon
is masterful in his simplicity, though at times pushing the
guitar and amp to wuthering heights.
If I was teaching a class on arranging or producing, I would
use this album as an example. Every time I hear it, and I've
heard it over a hundred times thus far, I hear something new.
Something not necessarily buried but just deep enough in the
mix to add to yet not distract from the song. Voices.
Instruments. Sounds. I remember talking with Max Wisely and
Bill Phillips of Cargoe about the making of their
self-titled album for Ardent Records back in the day. I
laughed as they told stories of snapping belts and coke bottles
and ping pong balls. The good artists and producers do whatever
it takes to get the sound they need. That's what Hackett and
Dunn have done here. No stone unturned.
I am obsessed with this album. This is good stuff. Amazingly
good. Good enough to be guaranteed a Top Ten slot in my end of
the year list. No, I don't need to wait. I can hear it. Click
Listen closely. It may take you a few times, but you will hear
it too. When you get it, buy it. Play it for your friends. Put
a leash on it and take it for walks, I don't care. Hopefully it
will be an antidote to always looking backward to the music
you've already heard way too much but just can't seem to shake.
This is an album which could be the first album of the rest of