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PETER DALTREY & DAMIEN YOUTH 'Tattoo' Chelsea Records CRCD 201110 (CD) (43m24s) (UK) 2003
This is the second collaboration between Peter Daltrey and Damien Youth, and how their partnership is blossoming! The first CD, 'Nevergreen', being a concept album with plenty of spoken passages, demanded concentrated listening from beginning to end. 'Tattoo' is a collection of songs, and as such is more accessible. There is plenty of variety, light and shade, and some real developments in their writing.
The acoustic guitar immediately brings to mind some of the softer Kaleidoscope tracks, notably on the title track, with its repeated, hypnotic guitar refrain. Peter's voice is perfectly suited to this kind of guitar backdrop. There are shades of Donovan here too; his 90s 'Sutras' album springing to mind. That's not to say this is a backward looking album; 'The Three Sisters' is possibly one of the rockiest tracks on any of Peter's CDs. Oliver Daltrey's additional guitar is most welcome, resulting in a powerful and sinister song. The worship of woman from a distance, a theme that has cropped up in Peter's lyrics from the very beginning, is here again - "While I kneel at your feet and kiss your hi-heels / you stab me with the silver knife". This is a cracking track. Oliver's guitar also appears on the mysterious, atmospheric and image laden 'Jesus Wheel', jangling in a very satisfying manner.
Mostly, of course, it's an acoustic album, full of delicious, delicate touches, fine lyrics and haunting melodies with real commercial appeal - 'Gypsy Gypsy' (ZAB: Note that this was released as a 7" single on Earworm Records.) has an instantly memorable chorus and a touch of atmospheric organ, while 'Dreaming of Holly', an affectionate tribute to Buddy Holly is pure pop magic. Even the tiniest touches, the soft backing vocals, the touch of echo, the lyric that hits all the right spots, combine to make this another of the CD's standout tracks. Someone really ought to get this out as a single!
Elsewhere, 'Big Gun' has a suitably booming drum backing on an uncharacteristically bitter song of lost dreams and disillusion. "Do we trust them or do we string them up from the nearest tree?" Peter sings of the men who "want to tempt us with their sour dreams." 'Tokyo Room' features Faye Daltrey adding a vocal introduction and backing vocals to an eastern flavoured song, while 'Nathan Child' is composed by Peter and Oliver, and reminds me of some of the shorter Fairfield Parlour pieces that appeared on their 'Just Another Day' EP.
This CD shows Peter going from strength to strength as a lyricist and singer, while the collaboration with Damien Youth is producing some fine melodies and developing into a song writing partnership of such quality that they could probably find other outlets for their talents, as well as on this varied and enjoyable CD.