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Mysterium Mysterium

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Album Review

Dennis Driscoll's Mysterium Mysterium just might be to '60s AM pop and post-doo wop what Spinal Tap is to pop-metal, GWAR is to thrash metal and Gerry House is to honky tonk — in other words, a total parody of the style that he is focusing on. If the singer/songwriter didn't bring a huge dose of irony to this CD, it would be easy to rip Mysterium Mysterium to shreds. His oddly boyish singing is badly out of tune, and his lyrics are as trite, clichéd and naïve as they are sophomoric. Think of the corniest, most adolescent lyrics that plagued AM radio in the early to mid-'60s — people who wanted to be the Everly Brothers but didn't have a fraction of their talent — and you will have an idea what Driscoll's lyrics are like. Then there's the matter of the production; Mysterium Mysterium sounds like a poorly produced homemade demo. So why would anyone want to own a CD with so many "flaws?" Because the "flaws" aren't really flaws — they're effective tools in Driscoll's creative pop/rock arsenal. Again, the whole thing is obviously meant to parody of the bad side of '60s AM pop, which Driscoll is mocking; his out-of-tune vocals and innocent lyrics are delivered in a very ironic way. And if his goal was to provide an album that is so bad that it's good, he's succeeded. One doesn't necessarily need to hear five or six more albums from Driscoll — after a few tracks, listeners get the joke. But Driscoll is entertaining — for a while, anyway — and students of pop culture should get a good laugh out of this amusing novelty item.


Genre: Pop

Years Active: '90s, '00s

Northwest singer/songwriter Dennis Driscoll combines the past -- the plain-spoken earthiness of Woody Guthrie, the innocent exuberance of Buddy Holly -- with the present -- the confessional intimacy of Cat Power, the quirky complexity of Neutral Milk Hotel -- to create a whimsical brand of folk-pop that transcends easy labels and categorizations. Driscoll, who was born in the late 1970s, grew up in the in the scenic coastal towns of Ilwaco, WA and Astoria, OR, where he began singing and playing his...
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Mysterium Mysterium, Dennis Driscoll
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