Brendan Perry - Eye Of The Hunter
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Brendan Perry
Eye Of The Hunter
(4AD)

I'll admit that I used to be a huge fan of Dead Can Dance. Even though I still didn't have the same ravenous appetite for their music, I felt kind of sad when I heard that they were going to call it quits a couple years back. They were a great group in the nearly 10 years that they were around, and they released some of the most beautiful, timeless music that I've heard (or will hear) in a long time. While band member Lisa Gerrard took off on her solo path first (with a solo album, a collaboration with Peter Bourke, and most recently working on the soundtrack to The Insider)), I wondered how long it would take Brendan Perry to go his own way and release a solo album of his own. Sure, he'd collaborated a lot with different groups like Elijahs Mantle, but I wondered which direction his solo output would wander.

Eye Of The Hunter is that recording, and although it definitely doesn't go to any musical extremes, it's different enough that it doesn't just sound like a Dead Can Dance record without Lisa Gerrard. If anything, it sounds like a more stripped-down, Americanized (in that it doesn't use as many different worldly sounding instruments as his former group did) version of a DCD album. If you managed to catch their live release Towards The Within and heard Perry perform the songs "American Dreaming" and "Don't Fade Away," you've already got a decent idea of what to expect here.

As it should be with a solo release by either of the duo (both he and Gerrard have amazing voices), the focus of the recording really are the vocals by Perry. Most of the music is fairly understated, whether it's a 12-string guitar, pedal steel, or mandolin with a touch of keyboard strings behind it all.

Perry actually opens up the album by giving himself one of the more difficult vocals pieces on the album with "Saturday's Child." Going from his lower Baritone to a falsetto chorus, his voice sounds right at home over the simple, plucked guitar and quiet strings. It sounds like music you'd hear in a fairy tale with it's delicate, wispy movements. After the most DCD-like track on the album ("Voyage Of Bran"), the album moves into a sort of slow waltz with "Medusa." With only strings, a mandolin and a music box sounding instrument, it's another track that moves along through the dark mist of the night. He even weaves in a bit of almost country-music influence on "I Must Have Been Blind" and a spaghetti-western sound on "The Captive Heart." before drifting the album to close with the dreamy "Archangel."

Overall, the album will probably appeal most to fans of Dead Can Dance wanting to hear more from Perry, although the album plays well enough that he might be able to snare in some new fans who liked the darker sounds and themes of his former group, but not all the different worldly influences. Although the quiet, restrained music isn't quite as interesting overall as DCD, Perry's vocals are as strong as ever and it's a fairly solid album.

rating: 710
Aaron Coleman 2003-06-19 00:00:00