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Eyes! China Doll

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Album Review

Edward Ka-Spel's albums are rarely cheery, but Eyes! China Doll is particularly dark and filled with religious fanatics, haunted hotels, deformed infants, and a dead pet shop owner. "Blowing Bubbles (Part Two)," a love song as love song-ish as Ka-Spel has ever written, may be the only uplifting track of the set, but it surely isn't the only interesting one. Less beat-oriented than Laugh China Doll, this second full-length solo effort also features stronger songwriting and shows Ka-Spel exploring a solo direction that takes him further away from the Legendary Pink Dots' mid-'80s records. Less D.I.Y.-sounding than its predecessor, Eyes! China Doll sees Ka-Spel laying down several keyboard parts and sound effects, stretching out his arranger's muscles. Highlights include "Avengelist," "Six Cats on a Dead Man's Chest," and the aforementioned "Blowing Bubbles (Part 2)," whose relative lightness is more than welcome in these otherwise stark regions of the songwriter's mind. But the pièce de résistance is the last track on the original LP: "Hotel Blanc." This three-part, 15-minute epic combines tortured songwriting, musique concrète, and an Edgar Allan Poe-inspired plot. Ka-Spel and producer Hero Wouters handle most instruments throughout the album, with Neel Holst and Matthieu Keizer adding sax and marimba on one track each. ~ François Couture, Rovi


Born: 23 January 1954 in London, England

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Edward Ka-Spel has built an international following with his dark psychedelic folk melodies and astute lyrics, first as the enigmatic and prolific founder/lead singer of London-cum-Netherlands-based band the Legendary Pink Dots and then as a solo recording artist and performer. Ka-Spel is widely regarded as a genius bordering on madness, which explains the frequent comparisons to Syd Barrett, the first singer of Pink Floyd. Since the Legendary Pink Dots' beginning in 1980, Ka-Spel has created an...
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Eyes! China Doll, Edward Ka-Spel
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