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With My Left Hand I Raise the Dead

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Album Review

Just under half of the 16 songs on Doveman's second album are untitled instrumentals, with one of them over eight minutes long. As a general rule, that's a strong indicator of screaming pretension, and to be fair With My Left Hand I Raise the Dead (warning sign number two) has a few eye-rollingly po-faced moments. On the other hand, a truly pretentious band wouldn't self-describe their own music as "lamp rock," as Doveman do, and the New York-based five-piece have the chops to keep their amorphous, liquid post-rock from turning into mere abstract noodling. Members of the band have played with everyone from David Byrne, Yoko Ono, and Laurie Anderson to Chris Whitley, Bonnie Raitt, and Iggy Pop, although naturally the spacy, impressionistic tunes and frontman Thomas Bartlett's whispered vocals and opaque lyrics are far closer in spirit to the former group than the latter. Those looking solely for immediacy and hooks will find With My Left Hand I Raise the Dead a slog, but it's a slowly unfolding mood piece that repays both careful headphone listening and middle of the night chillout sessions.


Formed: New York, NY

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '00s

Although keyboardist Thomas Bartlett cut his teeth as a sideman for Bebel Gilberto, the Swell Season, the National, and David Byrne, he also earned his own accolades as the frontman of Doveman. Bartlett founded the project in 2005 with the release of The Acrobat, a moody debut that highlighted his whispered vocals and ambient, jazz-influenced arrangements. He returned to the solo game two years later, focusing heavily on instrumental numbers with the sophomore effort With My Left Hand I Raise the...
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With My Left Hand I Raise the Dead, Doveman
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