Dear Reader Idealistic Animals

You could hardly accuse this album of being formulaic

You could hardly accuse this album of being formulaic




 (City Slang)


Dear Reader’s musical menagerie is a bit like a trip to the zoo- and not only because every track is named after an animal. Zoos are strange places, animals from different continents are put side by side and expected to exist alongside one another. This is pretty much what Dear Reader does  in this album. From eerie vox. synth with staccato electro hooks and pounding drum beats to delicate guitar riffs, ethereal vocals and rich orchestration; it’s all covered.
Yet somehow it works.

Fox (Take your Chances) is a languid, nocturnal number, with evocative muted trumpet strains that seem to drift to your across the night air, rather than issue from the speakers. This opening track is the first taste of Dear Reader’s atmospheric brilliance and the flashes of lyrical subtlety that come with it, in this case sinister and foreboding:  ‘this is the coming of the lord, but he’s not got to us yet’.

You could hardly accuse the album of being formulaic, even tracks like Monkey (You Can Go Home) that initially promise to be indie-stormers then turn into a sea of splash cymbal and multilayered vocal harmonies. Mole (Mole) has enough brass on it to make you think you should be watching some high-kicking, top-hat sporting entertainer in a 1940s cabaret club.

While tracks like Whale (Boo Hoo) are never going to appeal to everyone – particularly  when  Cherilyn Macneil is petulantly crying ‘boo hoo’ over some rather ear-assaulting Bavarian-style brass and accordion – Earthworm (All Hail Our Ailing Mother) has gentle, refined touch and Bear (Young’s Done In) is simply an infectious  nugget of musical joy. Plus it certainly has the best clarinet break in modern pop music.

Fans of Beirut and Sufjan Stevens will certainly appreciate the unconventional orchestration and quirky song -smithery of this South African chanteuse.