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Lovelorn Dolls - Deadtime Stories (Alfa Matrix / SPLEEN+)

11 May 2024

A few decades ago, the idea of a synth-metal band might have seemed incongruous, conjuring visions of patched-jacketed long hairs wailing and chomping at the bit at the idea of their genre getting the digital treatment. But when you hear bands such as Lovelorn Dolls, the question isn’t so much “when did this happen” but more, “why did this take so long?” Metal, it would seem, was crying out for such treatment, and as is proven here on Deadtime Stories, the results can be astonishing.

Across eleven songs, Lovelorn Dolls create the most anthemic soundscapes, doing so with a sheen and sophistication, a symphonic vision, and a cinematic scope that is rarely wrought by more traditional analogue instruments.

Then again, this is more than just metal at work. Throughout this sonic array, you find plenty of gothic shade and atmosphere, no small amount of neo-classical grandeur, some traditional, foot-on-the-monitor rock power, and no small amount of the electronic grooves that have powered alternative nightclub dancefloors since the post-punk explosion.

But there is something else at work here that comes more from the pages of literature than from music, more akin to the world of the horror writer than the musical scribe. There is a sort of fairytale menace at work, and here, think fairytale in the sense of the Brothers Grimm originals rather than the Disney Princess makeover. Creepy cute, as the band themselves put it, and that is the additional ingredient that makes their music both so wonderfully compelling and brilliantly unnerving.

Deadtime Stories album order
Deadtime Stories album teaser
A Heart Cries