CD Cover Dorothy Missing

Review by Alphonse Leong

Mostly free of any first-time hyperactivity or giddiness, this debut disc from Vancouver's Dorothy Missing features soundly-structured songs, co-written by guitarist Karen Rauh and vocalist Sara Mitchell, and tight, well-paced playing from the band as a whole. The material may be a bit wide-ranging for those who prefer songs on a CD to be of a similar stripe: you get everything from philosophical musings set against an edgy guitar backdrop ("Press") to cute, almost loungy pop ("9 Lives") to somber piano ballads ("Sleep"). A standout track is the short (a mere 1:50!) "Middle Child," with it's haunting urgency ("I know what I want/I can feel it like a rainy day coming").

back cover Mitchell's voice is sometimes tinged with an anguished rasp that works well on moodier stuff like "Taking a Bath" or "The Crescent," but she mostly takes on a crisp, authoritative schoolteacher tone. Indeed, the lyrics tend to be declarative, like "I'm told I'm intelligent, I'm just waiting for the evidence" from "Memory Bank" or "And pages turn to things to burn and I say it's just as well" from "Press." Sorry, no "Oh, baby, I need you so badly" lines here; about as romantic as Mitchell gets is when she calmly sings, "If I had nine lives, I'd spend them all with you" (from "9 Lives").

For the real unbridled passion, you have to turn to Rauh's guitar-playing. Combining technical virtuosity with an elegant inventiveness, she plays with the intensity of 60's and 70's guitar gods (those strange creatures who mastered their instruments before putting a band together) and may be the heralder of a whole new era of guitar goddesses! With a variety of cool riffs that rival anything you can hear on Led Zeppelin's Houses of the Holy, she plays a particularly nice solo on "The Interview" and shows some dazzling, dreamy acoustic guitar-work (and impressive finger strength!) on "Autumnal Bliss."

The only thing that disturbed me about this disc was a peculiar animal figurine pictured on the back cover -- it's pretty creepy.

Artist Contact Info: #159, 2496 E. Hastings St., Vancouver, B.C., Canada, V5K 1Z1

First published in Drop-D Magazine on April 18, 1998

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