Reviews

Tyla’s Dogs D’Amour – Tree Bridge Cross


Tyla’s Dogs D’Amour  – Tree Bridge Cross

Tyla’s Dogs D’Amour  – Tree Bridge Cross
2nd September on Cargo Records

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Tracklisting:
1. Angel Lane
2. Buried Alive
3. Ghosts
4. God Only Knows
5. Journey to the Centre of the Soul
6. Lamplight
7. Moth to a Flame
8. Raining Fire
9. Stole My Love ( featuring Spike)
10. Treebridge Cross
11. Powder Dry

Tyla’s Dogs D’Amour  – Tree Bridge Cross

Tyla’s Dogs D’Amour have brought forth a dark chest of treasures ready for release on Friday, September 2nd, spilling over with poetry, nostalgia, solidarity, reflection and poignancy in all its glorious, cracked perfection.  It is 100% Dogs through and through, only with deeper feels, enhanced bitter sweetness and is replete with allusive raw edges.   Over the tough times – during ‘Countdown’ as they refer to the horrors of the pandemic – the bond has strengthened between the Dogs and the album captures the emotional demands and savage honesty they have shared and passed between them.   As with most anticipated new music there have been significant and frustrating delays, however the ducks are now all in a row, the powder has been kept dry (pretty much) and Tree Bridge Cross is ready to make its entrance.

Title track ‘Tree Bridge Cross’ introduces itself with a foreboding tone – shadowy basslines and rhythm guitar underpin Tyla’s throaty, ominous vocals and a searing lead riff before Hanson’s drums kick in and the song takes off in the direction of the menacing and the haunted.   Tempered out by the contrast of Scotty’s melodic keys the music is darkly passionate, potent and intriguing.   Following this level of intensity, the warmer, more familiar sounding notes of ‘Journey to the Centre of the Soul’ will bring out the wistfulness of any Dogs fan; the rhythm section is a little more understated, the backing harmonies are mellow, the piano dulcet and ariose.   It’s bluesey, soulful and comfortingly homespun.

A not unexpected but most welcome collaboration with Spike follows in the pure simplicity of ‘You Stole My Love Away’, a moving and relatable tale of heartbreak and woe duetted in that inimitable, melancholy style they have which would bore into the hardest of hearts.   This song will be a cast iron crowd favourite with its sing along style and many a red wine will be cried into.

In direct contrast, next comes one of the high points on the album for me – ‘God Only Knows’ crashes in as a soul – kicking, emotive lament, lyrically this track is illustrative of Tyla’s colourful visualisations of his stories and characters that hold him unique.   The inky richness of this song sends chills down the spine and has me completely hooked.  By now, I am very much liking these darker Dogs.   ‘Angel Lane’ follows with a hailstorm of drums, Matty’s bass is heavier on this one and a darkly flamboyant mariachi flavour runs through it to add an extra layer of theatre.   Tyla and Gaz’s guitars slide and twist up together creating a sinister warning –  ‘don’t cross the psycho king…’ and with a slowed up, baleful ending it is the most unsettling track on the album, and quite possibly the best, in terms of musical depth and variation.   I don’t think I’ve ever heard anything quite like it before.

Moving on to ‘Buried Alive’, a cold blooded, untamed apologue of revenge, swarming with animosity to the point where I’d worry for anyone this was directed towards.  How you can make beautiful piano notes sound as menacing as this is a mystery only the Dogs have the key to.   ‘Raining Fire’ then kicks in and brings back that more classic Dogs sound; pirate rock n’ roll back to its roots – gritty, big riffs, killer solos and cowboy boot stamping, anthemic wildness.  It is recognisable, entertaining, and will be a killer played live.

The boys then do an abrupt about-turn and deliver us ‘Powder Dry’, a cautionary tale of karma and fate, sage advice and learned warning.   It’s beautiful, temperate acoustic tones, gently harmonised backing vocals and subtle piano build and give way to an impassioned guitar solo from Gaz, Tyla’s vocals are sublime and the whole thing finishes with a thoughtful tear in its metaphorical eye.

Blues guitar and harmonica draw us in to ‘Moth to the Flame’, another bass driven track with classic Dogs overtones, the subject matter striking a nerve and igniting a flame within us all – the misuse of power by the over privileged.   This song carries a strange energy; the lyrical content somewhat at odds with the mildness of the music, and Tyla sings it with a juxtaposing tenderness in his voice.  It all adds to the singular charm, if there’s a hidden gem on this album this would be it.

Finishing with the reflective nostalgia of ‘Ghosts’, a haunting, acoustic-led, sorrowful tale of loss and bygones, with the band stripped back to just guitar and piano.   Again, lyrically it is resonant, describing once cherished places torn down heartlessly for reasons of avarice and the pursuit of gain, leaving nothing but memories and traces of a much-loved past.

‘Tree Bridge Cross’ shows you a deeper, darker side to the Dogs, there’s a heavy sense of meaning behind every track and you can feel how deeply personal some places have been for them.   It’s also some of the last songs Scotty ever played on and will always be special for that in itself. There are struggles, there is heartache, there is anger, there are hearts being poured out into glasses.    It casts a spell, as is characteristic of the Dogs, bards and balladeers that they are in both music and lyric.   I’m finishing with a quote from Gaz which sums up the sentiment perfectly – ‘If In Vino captured the joy of being in a rock n’ roll band then Tree Bridge Cross captures the harshness of life outside it’.

Tree Bridge Cross is available on vinyl and double CD (the second disc contains acoustic versions of the songs)

Tyla J. Pallas – vocals and guitar (including slide)
Gary Pennick – guitar and backing vocals
Matty James Cassidy – bass and backing vocals
Simon Hansen – drums
(The late) Scotty Mulvey – piano and keys (CD1)
Rik Evans – viola and piano (CD2)

Review by Victoria Llewelyn for Crazy Cowboy

Tyla’s Dogs D’Amour links
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