Artist: One Eyed Doll

CD: Hole


Label: Self Released/Nebulost


Let's clear the air right away: this is a (capital R) Rock album. The band has a wonderfully theatrical style, but they are a rock band. A kick ass rock band.

This Austin, TX twosome knows their chops and, in the grand tradition of rock, plunder from a wide variety of sources: 70s thunder rock, both 80s glam *and* 80s metal, pummeling 90s alt rock... but there are also beautiful moving moments here (especially "Master"). It's not just the "hard" side of rock they explore.

Singer/guitar player Kimberly Freeman has the skills with her guitar and her voice to be lovely/sweet and snarly/vicious by turns. But the real trick is that she knows *when* to be one or the other. Together with drummer/bassist, Scott Sutton, she knows how to sooth us and just when we feel comfortable One Eyed Doll hammers us into the ground. Compare the accessible melodic hard rock of "Scapegoat" to the sledgehammer attack of "Black Forest". Yet the lyrical themes of the songs are the reverse of what you might expect. "Scapegoat" deals with the angry issue (being treated bad by ex-boyfriends) and "Black Forest" is about a "light" issue, Kimberly's love of the forest.

A good chunk of rock music has always been about relationships and the opposite sex. "Hole" has several such numbers: the already mentioned "Scapegoat" and the back-to-back attack of "Hootchie Mama" and "Nudie Bar". As Freeman makes clear in these songs if you're expecting some coquettish rock/sex kitten you've come to the wrong place. This album is about in-your-face attitude, not about coy come ons.

This recording isn't a catalogue of human wreckage. If you're hoping for a CD of a woman recounting the trauma of her life, move along. This is not about getting your voyeuristic thrills on someone else's suffering. This collection is about strength and pride.

But "Hole" isn't dull and serious, it's frequently hilarious (again check out "Hootchie Mama" and "Nudie Bar"). There's also "Suicidal Serenade" with it's attack on blind patriotism and the goofy fun of "I *heart* my Little Bus" and "Recipe 4 Success". Regardless of the topic tackled the music matches it with complexity and style. A number of styles.

There's no Svengali behind this band, just two talented folks who know when to beguile and when to bludgeon. Great rock isn't dead, it's just not on the TV or radio.

Now if we could just get them to Seattle to share a bill with Schoolyard Heroes.


One Eyed Doll: