Doug Cheatwood, Stories About Gods & Heroes

Doug Cheatwood, <em>Stories About Gods & Heroes</em>

Is this a playful, lighthearted industrial record or a gut-wrenching hurdy-gurdy E.P.?

On Stories About Gods & Heroes, Doug Cheatwood doesn’t always sing, and he doesn’t exactly rap, although a lot of the time he speaks with the voice affectations of Biz Markie. He employs visual lyric patterns that seem well-crafted (like Beck), but which don’t hold a linear narrative. He can always turn a phrase, but he never wraps your mind around an issue. I get the feeling that the songs are about love, and since love doesn’t always make sense, that’s his excuse. It makes you wonder if these obtuse lyrics will provide inspiration upon repeated listenings, or will the promise be broken?

I picture one man with a few dozen instruments strapped to his neck, belt, and back. A harmonica, for sure, but also found sounds, tribal drums that seem to have been recorded from a mile away, and a symphony of bells, whistles, and buzzers that would make Trent Reznor seem a minimalist. If Dr. Dre and Bob Dylan made a record? Awkward, symphonic, with hip-hop elements, and yet, folky. Hmm…

I could almost recommend Doug Cheatwood’s E.P. for the memorable drum circle antics alone, or for the I-guess-they’re-intellectual lyrics he throws over a symphony of foundsounds like the ones you’d hear when you’re skipping right past a KTRU noise show on the radio dial. Textured, with an emphasis on sound effects and imagery, but for me, not enough lyrical focus to be so poetic.

(self-released; Doug Cheatwood --

Review by . Review posted Tuesday, March 1st, 2005. Filed under Reviews.

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