Doll By Doll: Remember Tour Record Shop Poster-1979

Offered is an Original June 1979 73x49cm Promotional Poster For Doll by Doll Promoting both The Album by Image and Their UK Tour.


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If ever there were an album that kicked off with a sound that was completely out of time for 1979 it’s Doll by Doll’s debut, Remember. The opening cut, “”Butcher Boy,”” rolls out a minimal, trancelike drumbeat and a guitar solo that is polished, wide open, and precise. At the dawn of post-punk, the guitar — and especially guitar solos — had become pariahs. It mattered not to this Scottish quartet fronted by guitarist and vocalist Jackie Leven, who wrote all but one of the songs here. It is the sound of a rock & roll out of time, dimension, and space with everything that was happening in the U.K. at the close of the ’70s. Yet it perfectly fit the fragmentation then occurring in rock. Using anger in its guitar and vocal attack, overboard and in-the-red instrumental breaks, romantic rock & roll imagery, and the sound of post-punk’s reflective direction, Leven moves away from punk’s collectivism and digs deep into the murky depths of the self as an assimilation of personal biography, societal failure, and cultural dissolution. This is working-class rock packaged in a grandiose elegance that spit in the face of everything else appearing at the time — which doesn’t mean that Remember is a classic, but it is a directional arrow. Only Ian Curtis had examined the kinds of emotional terrain Leven did, and without the lyricism. Doll by Doll were all about lyricism, as is evidenced in “”Chances,”” which offered an optimism that cried out in spite of everything in the air. Leven’s falsetto and Phil Spector-ish melody, along with four-part harmony by the band, feel like Cyrano de Bergerac singing his poetry into the night sky accompanied by a spare drumbeat, clocking out the 4/4 time with a guitar ready to erupt — which it does about two minutes in, and then all bets are off. Here is poetry and beauty, a surrealistic springtime juxtaposed against the bleak U.K. pop scene. Leven had obviously heard Bruce Springsteen, but rather than write working-class anthems, he dug his heels in and stuck to his own experience and desires. Indeed, if Remember is anything, it’s the story of desire run amok, trying like the devil to rise above the miasma of the time with a rock & roll backdrop. Check out the gentle and romantic lost-love call in “”Janice,”” where Leven dares to write of loss with a melodic sensibility that borrows from Celtic folk music, ’60s pop, and a sense of desolation left in the wake of punk. The album closes with “”Palace of Love,”” a seven-minute treatise that rages out of the gate with thudding tom-toms and dueling out-of-tune guitar riffs, only to explode into a hard-driving, theatrical treatise on the skeletal remains of love’s tainted possibilities. This is pop with teeth and with razor-bladed words drenched in hope, knowing it will extinguish itself in disaster, but insisting in its wheels-over-the-cliff guitar and drum excess (and it is indulgent as hell) that the risk for redemption by the impossible is everything. It’s not a perfect album — it’s sloppy, recorded muddily, and full of lyric and instrumental excess and naïveté — but the way it stands apart musically from its time is indeed worth remembering and revisiting even in the 21st century.

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