The Dowling Poole
Band members Related acts
line up 1 (2013-)
- Willie Dowling -- vocals
- Jon Poole (aka Random Jon Poole) -- vocals
supporting musicians: 2016)
- Givvi Flynn -- backing vocals
- Cardiac Arrest (Jon Poole)
- Cardiacs (Jon Poole)
- Cat People (Willie Dowling)
- The Celebrity Squares (Willie Dowling)
- The Ginger Wildheart Band (Jon Poole)
- The God Damn Whores (Jon Poole)
- The Grip (Willie Dowling)
- Honeycrack and the Gap (Willie Dowling)
- Jackdaw4 (Willie Dowling)
- Lifesigns (Jon Poole)
- Jon Poole (solo efforts)
- SIlver Ginger 5 (Jon Poole)
- The Sugar Plum Fairies (Willie Dowling)
- The Wildhearts (Jon Poole)
Rating: 4 stars ****
Title: One Hyde Park
Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+
Comments: UK pressing
Catalog ID: --
Prior to forming The Dowling Poole in 2013, Willie Dowling and Jon Poole had established extensive musical resumes that included at least a dozen bands ranging from The Cardiacs (Poole) to The Sugar Plum Fairies (Dowling) .
Anyone who liked The Dowling Poole's 2014 debut "Bleak Strategies" was likely to be equally impressed by 2016's "One Hyde Park". Showcasing their talents as singers and multi-instrumentalists, this was one of those albums that may have been a little short on originality, but more than compensated for it with a sense of enthusiasm and sheer delight. Dowling and Poole both had nice voices, though I have to admit I had to listen closely to distinguish between the two. That said, half the fun on this set was playing spot-the-influence. Featuring twelve Dawling-Poole originals, these tunes borrowed liberally from a broad array of '60s, '70s and '80s rock and roll influences. Name an act and there was a good change these guys pinched something from that band. That wasn't meant as a criticism since the pair had great tastes in terms of their influences and the way they combined different inspirations was never less than attention grabbing - doowop and 10cc on 'Willing To Change', The Beach Boys and Tears for Fears ('Bring Back the Glow'), The Sparks and XTC on 'Rebecca Receiving'. Elsewhere I heard bits of bands ranging from Roy Wood and ELO, to The Free Design on 'Fight Fight Fight', Freddie Mercury and Brian May on 'Vox Pops', and even Ian Hunter and Mott the Hoople on 'Adam & Eve (A Secular Hymn)'. It made for a never ending game of spot-the-influence and each time I listen to the LP I pick up some other influence.
Park" track listing:
1.) Rebecca Receiving (Willie Dowling - Jon Poole) - rating: **** stars
Geez, hard to decide what the overarching influence was on the bubbly 'Rebecca Receiving'. With Poole handling the lead vocals, you were treated to a tasty little tune seemingly about a star who is rapidly running out of her time in the spotlight. A little bit of Sparks crossed with Andy Partridge and XTC? Roy Wood era ELO? All of the above? Regardless it was catchy. The tune was tapped as a CDr format single and as a three track digital EP. There was also a promotional video for the song: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fe9hiy0wOrE
- 2016 'Rebecca Receiving' b/w 'One Hyde Park' (369 Records catalog number )
- 2016 'Rebecca Receiving', 'The Same Mistake Again' and ''Empires, Buildings and Acquisitions (Acoustic Live In Manchester)' (369 Records catalog number )
2.) Fight, Fight, Fight (Willie Dowling - Jon Poole) - rating: **** star
For a moment I wondered if I'd mistakenly put on a Free Design LP. And from there the song exploded into a dizzying slice of hyper-catchy '60s power-pop complete with a brief slice of what sounded like faux-sitar. I dare anyone to not smile during Poole's "ba ba ba ba" chorus.
3.) When Knows, She Knows (Willie Dowling - Jon Poole) - rating: **** star
Usually barrelhouse piano powered old-timey tunes don't do much for me. Bands getting too cutesy just aren't attractive. 'When She Knows, She Knows' was one of the exceptions. Slapping an Eric Carmen and the Raspberries-styled chorus on this one made it criminally catchy.
4.) Vox Pops (Willie Dowling - Jon Poole) - rating: **** star
Geez a band capable of social commentary that doesn't treat the audience like a bunch of nitwits. Add in some Brian May styled lead guitar and what was apparently a cautionary tale with respect to trusting the press was a winner. Come to think about it, the vocals reminded me a bit of Freddie Mercury.
5.) Adam & Eve (A Secular Hymn) (Willie Dowling - Jon Poole) - rating: **** star
The story of Adam and Eve ... Well if you were going to question the basis for faith and offend people of all religious backgrounds, then you might as well cloak it in a super bouncy melody. Complete with a little rap segment, would this track qualify as being blasphemous? Would have made a great Mott the Hoople tune. Guarantee you will never hear this one at midnight mass.
6.) Willing To Change (Willie Dowling - Jon Poole) - rating: *** stars
Geez, why not throw a little doo-wop into the mix? And then jump right into Eric Stewart and 10cc cleverness? Yeah, the musical inspirations may have been diverse, but it was one of the album's prettiest performances.
1.) Hope and Glory (Willie Dowling - Jon Poole) - rating: **** star
Squeeze meets The Free Design? Poole on lead vocals ? but their harmonies (with a big assist from Givvi Flynn) were just amazing..
2.) Bring Back the Glow (Willie Dowling - Jon Poole) - rating: **** star
One of their prettiest compositions, the lysergic-touched ballad 'Bring Back the Glow' has always reminded me of a collision between The Beach Boys and Tears for Fears. Always loved the song's breezy, effortless feel.
3.) American Teeth (English Pride) (Willie Dowling - Jon Poole) - rating: **** star
Gawd only knows what 'American Teeth (English Pride)' was about ... it took me a couple of spins to figure out who 'the song' reminded me of - in this case the late Andrew Gold and Graham Gould in their Wax partnership ... Let me just say it has a hook that you'll really have to work to lose.
4.) The Garden (Willie Dowling - Jon Poole) - rating: *** stars
With Dowling and Poole sharing the lead vocal, 'The Garden' sported a melody that jumping all over the place. Another nod to XTC, it was also the album's most eclectic composition.
5.) Whatever (Willie Dowling - Jon Poole) - rating: **** star
As a big fan of English psychedelia, 'Whatever' captured me from the opening - a wonderful trippy melody packed with lysergic influences; effects treated vocals and sterling Tears for Fears-styled harmonies ... what wasn't there to like?
6.) One Hyde Park (Willie Dowling - Jon Poole) - rating: *** stars
Seemingly inspired by the infamous London residential and retail complex, 'One Hyde Park' reflected one of the album's weaker melodies. Yeah, it featured an epic orchestral arrangement and another enigmatic set of lyrics, though the duo seemed happy at the thought of the complex burning down.
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