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Dana Immanuel - Dotted Lines

  by Owen Peters

published: 25 / 11 / 2015



Dana Immanuel - Dotted Lines
Label: Dana Immanuel
Format: CD

intro

Impressive second album from banjo-playing London-based singer-songwriter, Dana Immanuel


Dana Immanuel is described in her PR notes as “a banjo-toting, whiskey- drinking, poker-playing singer-songwriter, who has been classically trained at Oxford where she studied Latin, Greek and Philosophy." I was wondering if this was code for a convent girl from Tunbridge Wells whose idea of a wild time is a weekend on the Isle of Wight, but having listened to Immanuel's second album 'Dotted Lines' I was wondering if there was some truth in the ` PR’s summary of her life in two paragraphs. Immanuel is clearly a woman of contrasts, contradictions, highs and undoubted lows. There are lots of questions without answers all bundled up in the album 'Dotted Lines', which covers eight songs and runs to just over thirty 1minutes in total. Let’s get this gripe out of the way. Immanuel writes from the heart, maybe the soul and possibly the bottle. She writes killer lines and bares all for open consumption. Guess what? There are no bloody lyrics available. Not with the CD, not on the website. It makes zero sense not to provide the lyrics. You hear words incorrectly such as taciturn, goad, corrode, sycophancy and flake, and the song's rhythm and meaning changes completely. Someone please allow punters to read the lyrics! The album's opening title track 'Dotted Lines' provides an indication as to the next half an hour's content. Although the electronic/acoustic mix of banjo and slide guitar steal the plaudits, it’s the pulsating percussion which gives the track a sense of power and direction. Immanuel’s lyrics are simple, letting an unknown person know she’s aware they want to step outside a set of defined boundaries which are deemed to be dotted lines…”I feel you struggling to stay inside the dotted lines/When the real you wants to go outside the shaded area sometimes.” A heavy-laden bluegrass riff with military drums stirs up 'Going to the Bottle', capturing the doom, gloom and necessity to take solace in drink: “Lazy days are going to the bottle/And the bottle stays the same.” A repetitive chorus captures perfectly the sense of someone drinking, resulting in the same outcome each time. Immanuel hits ballad mode with 'Life in Colour', not so much exploring as executing the end of a relationship. Here she confirms her ability to paint a picture with accuracy, feeling and raw emotion. She just wants the person sleeping on her floor, gone forever. She explains, “You’re a nice person/I enjoy your company...but you're so such a flake...I just need my own space/ I’m in colour and you’re in black and white.” 'Devil’s Money' steps up the tempo with Immanuel on her weapon of choice, the banjo, jousting once again with slide guitar. The theme is taken from her time working casino tables in Monte Carlo. There are lots of direct and pseudo references to the devil and evils of money, the question being asked “How high is too high?" Immanuel's music has the ability to offer up a false sense of security, none more so than 'Rock Bottom'. There is a foot tapping accompaniment of banjo and reverse backing vocals. It is all very upbeat and very jolly, but not really. She once again becomes self-analytical, finding herself in a hotel room, which she won't remember, a 'Do Not Disturb' sign on the lock keeping the world from her door. Her ability to construct a line or two as a summary or focal point laced with poignancy are once again highlighted with the lines: “I thought I’d sailed my ship of discontent across a sea of good intent/But I realise now I barely left the dock.” 'Be Like Arnie' is centered around a need to be calculated, self-centred, describing her desire to “turn a hard shoulder on this car crash I can’t solve.” The musical twist is, however, delightful. A trumpet solo softens the mood, followed by the backing of a trombone. Their introduction is surprising and welcome, and adds a soft jazzy texture to the track. 'Character Assassination', Immanuel's self-released debut album back in 2011, was an indication what she had in her musical locker. 'Dotted Lines' confirms her development and range of styles covering snippets of Americana, blues, folk and jazz in equal measure. Dana Immanuel doesn’t slip neatly into a packaged sound. She sounds different because she is different. 'Dotted Lines' is a strong second album with good arrangement, brutally honest in parts, coupled with observational lyrics, and made even better when you can view her well-crafted words.



Track Listing:-
1 Dotted Lines
2 Mile High
3 Rock Bottom
4 Devil's Money
5 Wild Things
6 Life in Colour
7 Going to the Bottle
8 Be Like Arnie


Band Links:-
https://www.facebook.com/danaimmanuelmusic
http://www.last.fm/music/Dana+Immanuel
http://danaimmanuel.com/
http://www.songkick.com/artists/528054-dana-immanuel
https://twitter.com/Danaimmanuel
http://artistecard.com/danaimmanuel



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