Iron Flowers Enhanced
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Grey DeLisle has returned with a stylistically varied effort evoking everyone from Cat Power to Stephen Foster. 'Joanna,' the second track features castanets, leaving the listener with a Phil Spector/Wall of Sound pleasant aftertaste. 'Blue Heart' was recorded live with producer Marvin Etzioni's teenaged son's garage band in one take. 'Right Now' features Marc Bolan-esque ray-gun guitar splashes. Combine all of that with dirty rockabilly ('Who Made You King'), a Rev. Charlie Jackson cover ('God's Got It') and the opening track, a reworking of Queen's 'Bohemian Rhapsody' (yes, you read that right) to arrive at Grey's distinctive take on Americana edgy, dynamic, graceful, and eclectic. Sugar Hill. 2005.
Alt-country chanteuse Grey DeLisle shows that her brand of Americana respects no boundaries by opening Iron Flowers with a passage from Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody," recast as a yearning ballad for autoharp and steel guitar. From there, her most eclectic release to date extends DeLisle's musical territory from a romantic anthem worthy of Bruce Springsteen or Phil Spector ("Joanna") to bare-bones gospel ("God's Got It") to garage-band rock ("Blue Heart"), with even a reprise of the Queen homage (the chiming guitars that provide the coda for "Right Now"). For all the album's musical variety, the high drama of DeLisle's tremulous vocal quaver gives the project a unifying artistic imprint, framed by the spare arrangements and atmospheric effects of producer Marvin Etzioni. With the folky, acoustic "Sweet Little Bluebird" and the straightforward country of "Inside Texas," DeLisle closes the collection with a return to the rootsier side of her music, as if she's been on an adventure and is now bringing it all back home. --Don McLeese
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Top Customer Reviews
Many people will probably be put off by the fact that the first track on this album is a cover of Bohemian Rhapsody, but they shouldn't. DeLisle actually she treats it as a song, rather than as a kitsch icon, and almost pulls it off. The song probably has too much cultural baggage to overcome, but DeLisle comes breathtakingly close.
The rest of the album is all originals, and there isn't a weak track on the whole album. It's comparatively short - ten tracks in less than 45 minutes - which makes a nice change from 70 minutes albums with 40 minutes of filler.
Highlights include the gorgeous pop of Right Now, the hedonistic country of The Bloody Bucket, the loose garage rock of Blueheart, and the hard-hearted ballad Who Made You King.
The rest of the album bleeds from country to folk to gospel seamlessly. Grey's lyrical capabilities are on par with such songwriters as Bob Dylan and George Harrison. Many of the tracks are depressed and dark, the sorrowful lyrics complimented by moaning mandolin and slide guitar. When i first heard "Bloody Bucket" (the saddest song ever recorded) I immmediatley was reminded of Led Zeppelin's "All My Love", at least so far as the acoustic instrumentals were concerned.
All in all, an excellent buy, not a single bum track on the whole record!