Dreamchild - Lullabies for the Dead

Dreamchild - Lullabies for the Dead
Recording Location:
Moon Pool Studios, Allston, MA
Release Date:
Lullabies for the Dead

Elegant theatricality seems to suit duos from Boston these days, and Dreamchild continue in the vein of their previous work with the striking Lullabies for the Dead. Suggesting everything from goth's dank dreams to medieval atmospheres and twisted cabarets, Dreamchild can be considered fellow travelers to acts such as Unto Ashes, but have their own synthesis to play around with. Cheryl Wanner seems to perform as much as sing, adopting a variety of voices and tones throughout, while the music she and Frank Gerace create similarly goes across a wide range, from gentle folk to modern, atonal efforts. Certainly their literary ambitions are clear enough from the start, with a reworking of Keats' "La Belle Dame Sans Merci" given a mostly spare arrangement of harpsichord (or something similar) and bass, though the appearance of electric guitar towards the end makes for a nice surprise.

That spareness continues in many ways throughout the album -- it's not an overcrowded record, with performances reliant mostly on two or three key parts. Yet Lullabies for the Dead is a pretty full album in ways, nearly maxing out its CD length and referring to any number of female figures or archetypes along the way, from Salome to Frida Kahlo. The duo's strongest moments are where they jettison traditional song form in favor of often striking explorations -- "Medusa" could rival prime Laurie Anderson in its collage of spoken word, background vocal keens and calls and rumbling basslines, while "Herodias Piercing" is pure wordless vocal and keyboard interplay.

But more traditional approaches have their appeal -- "Tango for Frida" is exactly that, all acoustic guitar and castanets, while numerous other stringed instruments take bows throughout.

La Belle Dame Sans Merci / Fred GeraceDreamchild8:30
La Tête d'Orphée / Fred GeraceDreamchild5:12
Avalon / Fred GeraceDreamchild4:51
Salome / Fred GeraceDreamchild5:04
Herodias Piercing / Fred GeraceDreamchild1:32
The Double RoseDreamchild2:17
Custom Fails / Fred GeraceDreamchild3:25
The House of the Dead / Fred GeraceDreamchild1:31
Lullaby for the Dead / Fred GeraceDreamchild3:34
Forever / Fred GeraceDreamchild3:47
Darkness Ascending / Dreamchild / John MatthewsDreamchild6:06
Una Escultura de Huesos (A Sculpture of Bones) / Fred GeraceDreamchild0:41
Tango for FridaDreamchild4:38
The Fountain / Fred GeraceDreamchild5:49
Salve (5000 Monks Praying to a Falling Star) / Fred GeraceDreamchild6:20

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