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Songdog | Haiku (Evangeline)
Years ago - and I do mean years ago - there was a group called Pavlov's Dog. The most memorable thing about this outfit - responsible for what are commonly regarded as two rock classics from the '70s, 'At The Sound Of The Bell' and 'Pampered Menial' - was singer David Surkamp's voice. His eerie falsetto whooped and dived through the Dog's gothic horror stories. Truly, it was a wonder to hear, and I thought I wouldn't experience the like again in my lifetime - until I listened to this album. I confess I didn't know much about Songdog until hearing 'Haiku', but what struck me was the uncanny resemblance singer Lyndon Morgans has to Safron. Morgan's voice doesn't have the range, but does contain the same emotional yearning that gives the songs a depth and humanity that is, at times, frankly disconcerting. Morgans is assisted by Karl Woodward on guitars, harmonica, mandolin and banjo, and Dave Paterson on drums, percussion and keyboards, who provide the musical framework for Morgans' wordy, and at times bonkers songs. What you notice while listening to this music, with its torrent of lyrics, insidious instrumentation and almost perfunctory arrangements, is that Morgans doesn't just write songs; they are treatises from his soul. And it's no wonder. A playwright, he has won the Radio France Meillure Nouvelle Prize and his intellectual worldview informs each of the songs, which glory in titles like She Hangs In the Dark Like A Saint In A Cathedral; Hitcher, With Her Pop-Art Lips & Cappuccino Skin and She Played Summertime (On The Brothel Piano). Don't expect to rock out with Songdog; in fact, in the wrong mood they'll take you down and down. But, if you fancy educating yourself and can last the pace, 'Haiku' will reveal delicate, treasures of understatement that are an art form in themselves.
CWAS #12 - Summer 2003