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Lullabies for the Dead
  • Artist: Dreamchild
  • Label: CD Baby
  • UPC: 783707040400
  • Item #: SRD704040
  • Genre: Rock
  • Release Date: 4/26/2005
  • This product is a special order
  • Rank: 1000000000
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List Price: $18.98
Price: $16.93
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Description

Lullabies for the Dead on CD

Lullabies for the Dead follows it's own inner dream logic, moving musically through time, history and morbid fables of mortality. Heard as an entire musical work, Lullabies for the Dead will mesmerize you with it's ethereal nightmares and fever dreams. The central theme of songs sung for and to the dead and dying subtly weaves it's way through the entire CD, moving through melancholy remembrances & murderous malice to doleful dirges & poignant laments. Join Dreamchild in examining the fates of a pair of very different decapitated heads (those of Orpheus and of Iokannan, or John the Baptist) in La Tête d'Orphée, Salome and Herodias Piercing; visit the fabled tomb of Arthur and his knights in Avalon, frozen in waiting for their hour of need, or the dying wood haunted by the enthralled and doomed knight in Keat's La Belle Dame Sans Merci. Or, if you prefer, brave the lair of the seductive yet deadly Medusa. Hear Frida Kahlo awakening to the embrace of her skeleton lover in Una Escultura de Huesos, and celebrate her passing in RJ Stewart's Tango for Frida. At last, ascending through the darkness, absolutioncomes in the form of the delicate lament, Lullaby for the Dead to finally reach the redemptive requiem of Salve - though Custom Fails and those who search for The Fountain of Life will die, made mad with a yearning thirst that can never be quenched. Dark, ethereal & powerful - always dramatic and sometimes hopelessly romantic, Lullabies for the Dead let's you run your fingers through the dust of mortality and glimpse through the veil to what lies beyond the final domain of the tomb... The Reviews: From Issue 6 (Winter 2006) of Dream Magazine 'Very, very white, in fact, downright pale. This duo from Cambridge Massachusetts make some well crafted darkly gothic folk pop. Frank Gerace and Cheryl Wanner both contribute guitars [sic] and percussion and looping devices. Cheryl also contributes harp, bass, bowed psaltery and the vocals; whether sung or spoken. From dreamily lulling to strident and grim.' From the February 2006 Issue of What's Up Magazine by Kier Byrnes 'Sounding as theatrical as it does musical, Dreamchild embraces the territory covered by bands such as Dead Can Dance and writers like Edgar Allen Poe, and fuses them into a perfect soundtrack for a dark French film. The CD is also filled with references to Greek and Celtic mythology in addition to the film noir influence. Dreamchild is a two piece, fully manned and operated by Cheryl Wanner mainly on vocals and Frank Gerace mainly on strings. The arrangements are very sparse and eerie but that is not to say that there is a shortage of sound. There are assorted loops, harps, acoustic and electric guitars loaded to the gills with reverb and chimed on by assorted spooky percussion. There are even instruments featured on here that I have never heard of - things like 'bowed psaltery' and 'zils'. Lullabies for the Dead, as you can tell by the title, is a sort of creepy kind of music, maybe not the right kind of music for a late night dance party but it's perfect for a haunted house Halloween Party'. From the Fall 2005 Issue #18 of Gothic Beauty Magazine by Carolee 'Thrilling terrors and beguiling witchery from both history and mythology take shape in these songs, which are like absinthe: an acquired taste, quickly intoxicating and leaving behind a strong memory of their flavor. Vocalist Cheryl Wanner, who also accompanies herself on the harp in some of the works [sic] most charming and haunted moments, delivers with a visionary wildness reminiscent of Miranda Sex Garden or Rasputina. Her flights of fancy can take her startlingly into character, but she is at her best in the registers of a true lullaby like 'Avalon' or 'Forever'. Frank Gerace's guitar work deserves mention as well, as he brings in some rare and stylish art.' From the October 2005 Issue #12 of Dark Realms by Camille Ambrose 'With Lullabies for the Dead, Dreamchild creates an eerie landscape of ethereal nightmares with theatrical overtones. From the dream-like Art Nouveau package design to the antiquated themes of their songs, this duo surrounds the senses in a morbid Victorian atmosphere akin to an absinthe nightcap. The haunting compositions of guitarist Frank Gerace and Cheryl Wanner lay the foundations for the avante garde, free form vocal stylings of Cheryl Warner as she delivers poetic lyrics that recount sinister fables of dark passion and horror. The themes range from sorrowful tales of Salome, Medusa and King Arthur to the somber and romantic poetry of Keats. Like a dark fairy tale told at bedtime, Lullabies for the Dead delivers a dose of dramatic melancholia to accompany Morpheus as he makes his nightly rounds.' From the September 2005 Issue of Metronome Magazine by Doug Sloan 'Dreamchild features the duo talents of Cheryl Wanner and Frank Gerace. On their new album, Lullabies for the Dead, Cheryl Wanner handles all the vocal work as well as playing harp, bowed psaltery, harpsichord, zills and an assortment of percussion instruments. In the mean time, Frank Gerace plays a Roland VG8 guitar synth along with electric and acoustic guitars and handles all the programming. The CD artwork alone is more impressive than most acts while the music sounds more like something straight out of France's baroque period than a local rock offering. Trust me, this is no ordinary, local CD release. Thematic, operatic and full of lush arrangements and instrumentation, Wanner and Gerace pay homage to the dead with their original collection of 16 cryptic tales, stories and lullabies. Cheryl Wanner's voice is rich with nuance and emotion while her abilities on various instruments are impressive. She creates otherwordly vibes with deft precision. Frank Gerace is the mastermind behind putting all the musical pieces together. Like a master puzzle maker, Gerace collects, intersects, and meshes a plethora of auditory images with the undaunting care of a tomb keeper. His meticulous production efforts, guitar work and recording prowess allows this CD to buzz with ominous intensity. If Rod Serling were alive today, he would surely employ the talents of Gerace and Wanner to grace the soundtrack of his macabre, twisted, maniacal Twilight Zone featurettes. Be afraid - be very afraid!' From the September 2005 Issue of NE Performer Magazine by Brian McGrath 'Lullabies for the Dead, Dreamchild's third full-length release, is steeped in romanticism and myth, presenting historical and quasi-historical characters, including King Arthur, Orpheus, Medusa and John the Baptist. While all the songs focus on death and dying in some manner, Frank Gerace and Cheryl Wanner do not limit themselves to the typical gothic cliches such as suicide and vampirism, instead mining the vast possibilities of poetry and legend. In fact, the music is best viewed as poetry settings rather than as any typical modern song form. The music is generally very minimal and understated. There is a wide variety of instrumentation including various guitars and percussion, harps, and harpsichord but it all remains firmly in the background while Wanner's vocals step to the fore. Unfortunately, her vocal style, especially in the upper register, is somewhat indistinct. The strength of the songs lies in their lyrical content, with the music serving simply to highlight the effect that the words already produce. Sometimes it's difficult to make out the lyrics and the music becomes overly involved in creating the mood. It is sufficient to create a general impression of loss and longing, but without the lyrics, the songs lose their individuality. Dreamchild shortchange themselves but not better highlighting the differences in their songs. The resulting homogenous sound does not do justice to the potential of the poetry. Of course, the lyrics are included on the CD package, so it is possible to examine the depth of the songs, but it would be better if they stood on their own. Dreamchild excels at creating mood through music, but the subtle variations in this mood are too easily lost in the indistinct lyrics. Lullabies for the Dead succeeds at the most basic level, but fails to attain it's full potential.' From the August 2005 Edition of Grave Concerns by Joshua Heinrich 'Blending traditional and modern instrumentation with the Siouxsie Sioux-meets-Lisa Gerrard timbre and inflections of vocalist Cheryl Wanner, Dreamchild weave a diverse ethereal/world/folk/goth web on their third full-length outing, Lullabies for the Dead. Sporting a lovely fold-out digipak, the album is a 16-track, 67-minute journey through poetic tales of time and death. Sharing the stylistic and ethnic diversity of many of their contemporaries, albeit in a style that is, perhaps, a bit sparser and more reserved, Dreamchild's latest features exceptionally strong songwriting and performances, it's mellow, stark shell inhabited by interesting, often subtle, production and lyrical and emotional depth. Highlights include the coupling of 'The Double Rose' and 'Custom Fails', the sparse, stark instrumental beauty of the former giving way to the fully realized latter built around the same melody. The melodically lovely and atmospheric 'La Tête d'Orphée', the length opener, 'La Belle Dame Sans Merci', drawing it's lyrical content from Keats, and the gorgeous layered ethereal folk of the disc's title track, 'Lullaby for the Dead', are other standouts. 'Avalon' is, notably, the disc's airiest, most upbeat offering, while 'Salome' and 'Darkness Ascending' both lean a bit more towards bass-driven goth rock, albeit with rather unique production. 'Forever', another lovely ethereal folk outing, has something of an Eastern influence, while the band incorporate a bit of authentic Latin flavor into their sound on a cover of R.J. Stewart's 'Tango for Frida', a Latin sound that also underpins the following bass-driven, acoustic guitar-centered moody rock of 'The Fountain'. 'Medusa', 'Herodias Piercing', and 'The House of the Dead' are more sound collages than proper songs, blending vocal wails and breathy sighs and hisses atop moody instrumental soundscapes, the first and last adding spoken word poetry to the mix. The closing 'Salve (5000 Monks Praying to a Falling Star)', likewise, is something of a moody 6-minute experimental soundscape, albeit with melodic lead vocals, while 'Una Escultura de Huesos' is a short layered a cappella piece. Overall, Dreamchild's Lullabies for the Dead is a strong and sonically interesting album with a fairly unique blend of instrumentation. From stark folk ballads featuring traditional instrumentation to unusual goth rock to experimental soundscapes, it's a lovely, worthwhile journey whose blend of subtle music and lyrical poetry will likely hold particular appeal for those with more artistic leanings. ' From the August 2005 Edition of Gothic Paradise by Jacob L. Bogedahl 'After becoming acquainted with this group and enjoying their sophomore album so much, I looked forward to hearing this, their third work. With a title like Lullabies for the Dead, one can imagine the nature of the music. The packaging of this album is very well done, in a type of fold-out digipack, it contains some excellent artwork, photos, lyrics and information behind the band and many tracks. 'La Belle Dame Sans Merci' is introduced in the liner notes as 'A musical setting for some stanzas from John Keats' haunting poem with additional lyrics en francais'. For this album this piece was immediately the most captivating. The subtle electronics as a synthetic cello sound mixed with the occasional guitar and harp blend well with Cheryl's vocals. Of course the French language often adds such a romantic touch to any song and so it does with this one. As we move on through the album and I compare the tracks on this one with the previous works I notice that Cheryl's often reaches for higher notes often piercing the air. I feel that she really reaches, but often question my own judgement and think that maybe she does it on purpose to add that much more of an eerie and almost paranormal sound to the album. This seems almost to be the case in 'La Tete d'Orphee' as she hits those high notes causing a child to run up my spine. Like their previous works, the album contains a number of accessible and catchy vocal tracks along the lines of a kind of psychadelic ethereal. But there are also a number of dark and eerie pieces with spoken word and freaky vocals and underlying samples and sounds. This is definitely the case with 'Medusa' which might stop some people from listening to this as they go to sleep for fear of inducing nightmares. 'Herodias Piercing' is another example of this with a number of haunting vocals. With the album divided nearly in half between these haunting tracks and the dreamier ethereal nature, it seems to be pretty well balanced. 'Avalon' has quickly become another favorite of mine with it's inclination to the often romanticized connection to the tales of King Arthur. There is a beautiful interlude instrumental piece 'The Double Rose' which provides the base for 'Custom Fails', another beautiful ethereal piece. At this point we reach something of a halfway mark and drift back into an eerie world of 'The House of the Dead'. This and each piece is a perfect addition to Lullabies for the Dead fitting the theme and ambience. In fact this brings right to 'Lullaby for the Dead' which is appropriately titled with the almost creepy vocals and ghostly harp. The album wraps up with sixteen total tracks with the finale being 'Salve (5000 Monks Praying To A Falling Star)'. This piece is an excellent work in dark, almost psychadelic music. But it brings the album to a close leaving the listener dazed and mystified. ' From the May 2005 Issue #108 of NeonNYC.com by Jeff Rey 'Boston-based masters of dark arts and gothic imagery, Dreamchild mark their third album release with Lullabies for the Dead. The long-time collaboration of Cheryl Wanner and Frank Gerace return with 15 compositions that are perhaps even darker than Gates to the Sea and La FéeVerte if that is possible. But what all three releases have in common is the ability to form atmospheric landscapes out of Wanner's ethereal vocals, Gerace's provocative guitar stylings and the employment of unusual instrumentation. Quoting poet John Keats and with one of the titles authored by mystic arts Renaissance man R.J. Stewart, this is pretty spooky stuff and perhaps it is best not to listen when you are home alone. Like any worthy gothic tales, these will send shivers up your backbone, but the end result is an emotional rush that is worth it. Adding to the sensory experience is the extraordinary funereal graphics, paintings and photography that are on display throughout the gate-folded CD package. ' (Jeff Rey)