Track Review: The Spitting Dummy Parade // Jem Doulton
Merging elements of post-punk, alternative rock, indie-rock and dream-pop, UK-based Jem Doulton has a truly eclectic style. Dreamy and experimental, each of his singles can send you off on a glistening river of sound. This is my introduction to Jem Doulton, but he has been around the block working with Thurston Moore and Roisin Murphy – he says all that means is he’s met “very distinctive and powerful musicians”. Yet, it is his music that is powerful and distinctive receiving critical acclaim from The Other Side Reviews, Punk Rocker and Edgar Allan Poets.
Released as the 11th track of a 12-track album (each single being released independently over one year), ‘The Spitting Dummy Parade’ blends shoegaze and post-punk with wispy kaleidoscopic vibes. Following the slightly heavier ‘Slow Drive In A Fast Machine’, this single has a lighter, airier feel to the experimental melody. Yet, while there is a wistfulness in the melody, the insertion of electric guitars enhances the eclecticism of Jem Doulton.
Working with various musicians in his songs, Jem has collaborated with members of Nought and the Roisin Murphy band. In ‘The Spitting Dummy Parade’, he collaborated with the talented bassist Debbie Googe (most well known as a member of My Bloody Valentine). Featuring on the track is also Mad Mad Mad’s guitarist Benji Bouton who brings, in Jem’s words’, “…an extra level of psyche”.
While the track appears to be mostly instrumental, a haunting voice is combined in the arrangement. Melodic and harmonic, all of the elements come together in a beautiful sonic tapestry; however, the depth of ‘The Spitting Dummy Parade’ is found in the powerful lyricism. Aligning with the song title, Jem explores sociopolitical issues like propaganda, acceptance of stereotypes, and basically, living in a dystopian society.
Listening to the rest of Jem Doulton’s singles, I hear a natural talent creating art instead of just performing. I can’t wait to see what else Jem has for us.