Painted Doll – “How To Draw Fire” (Tee Pee Records)
Battle Helm Rating
From the seemingly implausible combination of death metal legend Chris Reifert (Autopsy, Death, Violation Wound, Abscess) and musician/comedian Dave Hill (Valley Lodge, Witch Taint) comes Painted Doll, a blend of hippie/psych/hard rock/prog and power pop from the duo’s shared love of 60s and early 70s music. Receiving critical acclaim for their 2017 debut that saw them rewarded with east and west coast shows, including a support to Monster Magnet, Reifert and Hill have been swift, in between their other commitments,to follow up with this 12-track sophomore that takes their original concept to even higher levels! Composed in Autopsy’s rehearsal room in Oakland but recorded in New Jersey once again with producer Tom Beaujour (Nada Surf, Julian Hatfield, Guided by Voices), “How To Draw Fire” does exactlythat, sharingPainted Doll’s incredible vibes and grooves much needed in the current climate of pandemic and politics. With more than a nod to Dave Wyndorf, opener ‘Sun In The Sea’ resonates all the trippy hippy love with an acoustic and organ touch, and along with a rolling 60s bass, the Southern fried guitar solo ignites this superb song – and indeed album – as it rolls abundant in love and positivity. Warming you up through its organ and piano keys in full flow, along with teasing guitar licks and occasional wails adding to its laid-back vocals, ‘On The Ropes’ rolls along to a placid groove, although the powerful emotions underlying the song harbour its depth. Slowing down with its moving slide guitar on ‘Blue Postcards’, psych vocals add their hypnosis to the trippy ambiance until unexpectedly exploding in a fast screaming guitar medley more befitting Southern Rock’s greatest guitar legends! Crunching in on ‘Midnight Morning’, with its T-Rexpsych rock guitar sound and Marc Bolan style vocals, the chorus however, is another unexpected shift – this time into proto metal whose headbanging gusto is thanks to some heftily plucked bass strings. Bringing in some fast sunshine surf ‘n’ roll on ‘Dollhouse Rock’, a Ramones style punk element adds just the right amount of fire, especially in the screaming guitar solo that makes the difference here on this short number. Ending in the flower power pop of ‘Leave A Light On’ with its bountiful harmonies of ‘…I got so high, I thought I had cancer…’ and tinny guitars occasionally breaking into rock ‘n’ roll and hippie rock, Reifert and Hill have upped the bar. Indeed, they’ve given plenty around them reason to reconsider their unlikely success forged through the amazing music here that’s sure to bring tears of joy and plenty of memories to anyone musically rooted in the 60s and early 70s.