Album review of Dolly Birds & Spies by the Cleaners from Venus, written by Marc Louis-Boyard for Slow Culture

Cleaners From Venus, Dolly Birds & Spies – ALBUM REVIEW #22

In these complicated times, Martin Newell and Cleaners From Venus come improve our grey mental landscapes with Dolly Birds & Spies

If you’re unfamiliar with the band and its past works, Bandcamp wrote in 2018 a comprehensive guide on the topic. No time to read the guide, but still wanting to know what Cleaners from Venus are all about? Imagine that the band has been excelling at vintage DIY bedroom pop for the four past decades.

Here you go.

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Cleaners From Venus, Dolly Birds & Spies, our review:

Smells like Cleaners of Venus

Excellent news for the die-hard fans of the band: Dolly Birds & Spies will give them the best of both worlds. The unspeakable magic formula of the original band is here to stay, augmented with an evolution of the sound. This evolution (some would prefer the word continuity) is marked with simpler chords and rhythms.

That being said, don’t get us wrong. Let us explain. 

YES, this apparent simplicity still has room for colorful and spot-on jazz chords. Moreover, this tactful recipe serves Martin Newell’s indisputable storytelling mastery

Judge by yourself.

Production notes: the MIDI feel

Dolly Birds & Spies is dominantly acoustic, and that took us back to The Cure’s Acoustic Hits in terms of musical aesthetics. How so? We will refer to it as the MIDI feel: there’s a raw, generic overall feeling delivered by the album.

Is it bad? No, it’s a neutral judgement, not more than a perception. Is it cold? Maybe. But the warm presence of Martin Newell saves the day with an agreeable sense of human proximity.

Also, note that a lot of studio effects are used on the album, but they are not overused in any case. It’s part of the genre, and no effects are here to hide a potential mess. Have you ever listened to Hendrix’s Electric Ladyland? That’s the spirit.

Wisdom, mother of all virtues

Culturally speaking, is there anything more depressing on earth that rock ‘n roll has-beens trying too hard? Hardly.

With this new release, Martin Newell shows humility and relevance with an attitude comparable to the one Brian Wilson had adopted while remaking Smile.  Nothing to prove. No gigantic ego to satisfy. Only stories to tell.

Dolly Birds & Spies is a testimony of talent, pride and rightness. A musical showcase able to please older generations, and able to invite newer generations to discover and celebrate a significative chunk of music history.

Cleaners From Venus, Dolly Birds & Spies.

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