It takes something pretty spectacular for Hybrid to take on a major
label release. And spectacular (as in Broadway) is exactly what
the Australian producer delivers for Furious Angels. Everything
about this operetta is big and dramatic. His Matrix hit "Clubbed
To Death" has appeared on so many soundtracks and compilations
that it threatens to eclipse Nick Cave's "Red Right
Hand" as the most overused track in the movies. Heard here
in its natural habitat, the song soars again.
Dougan's storyline is a break-up which has left him violently bitter.
The title track (as seen in Matrix Reloaded) is so full of
believable threat that it's now prescribed for the newly love-lorn.
Backed by fully fleshed-out strings, his initial Chris Rea
vocals are unquenchable. Gruff whispers and low-end rumble span
the spectrum from suppressed rage, to boiling rage, to exploding
volcanic rage. This is one pissed-off, damaged customer. Possibly
irreparably so. But since the fifth step toward recovery is to pen
a vicious aria for your errant girly, let the healing begin. The
instrumentation is fully developed with themes and motifs carried
about by lush strings and meandering piano. Where I would normally
insert a juicy lyrical quote is instead an admonition to Reprise
for including no liner notes, cover or 30-page booklet. (Long live
indies!) The dark fascinations culminate in Dougan welcoming the
sweet comfort of a dirt blankey as the ultimate demonstration of
love in "Speed Me Towards Death." And while he's narrowly
avoided any Tom Waits comparisons, "Drinking Song"
goes full bottle. His drunken slur is dead on.
Although the sound is large and attractive, there is a dick in
the butter. And it's a huge, throbbing one that can't be overlooked.
Dougan often sullies the movements with Adidas-striped dance beats
on the tuxedoed orchestration: repetitive, relentless, unchanging
beats, which work better in Trainspotting ravers than these
quasi-classical compositions. It exceeds the Gavin Friday
quotient for neo-cabaret and hurtles straight on through to Robbie
Williams disco-lounge. Like pouring beer into the wine, this
crime is greater than the glut of similar-sounding instrumentals,
which are repeated on their own bonus disc. (Presumably for club
and karaoke purposes.) The vocal tracks are far more deserving of
While I'm not big on musical theatre, I'll be in orchestra seating
if Dougan ever puts on a stage production. Unless, of course, his
client Kylie Minogue is usurping the Grease role from
that other Australian pop princess.
2. Furious Angels
3. Will You Follow Me?
4. Left Me for Dead
5. I'm Not Driving Anymore
6. Clubbed to Death
7. There's Only Me
9. Nothing at All
10. Born Yesterday
11. Speed Me Towards Death
12. Drinking Song
14. One and the Same
15. Clubbed to Death 2
16. Will You Follow Me?
17. Furious Angels [instrumental]
18. Left Me for Dead [instrumental]
19. I'm Not Driving Anymore [instrumental]
20. There's Only Me [instrumental]
21. Instrumental [instrumental]
22. Nothing at All [instrumental]
23. Born Yesterday [instrumental]
24. Speed Me Towards Death [instrumental]
25. One and the Same [instrumental]
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