Lindsay Schoolcraft – Worlds Away
Cyber Proxy Records
Release Date: 09/10/2020
Running Time: 45:25
Review by Dark Juan
Hello, you bunch of beautiful but frequently dangerous and unpredictable people. It is I, Dark Juan, and I have been beset by travails these past few days that would test kings, let alone mere mortals. It’s a good job I’m speshul, really, otherwise I might have become REALLY cross and let’s face it, you wouldn’t like me when I’m angry. People rarely like me when I am drunk and cheerful so if I’m pissed off you have no chance. Sir Zeusington Zeus, VC, KCVG, MM, DFC and Bar, took it upon himself to eat the ONLY important piece of mail we have received at Dark Juan Terrace in WEEKS… Bear in mind this document is absolutely necessary for me to continue my work of wrangling recalcitrant young gentlemen and you can imagine the rage and recrimination poured upon his unfortunate canine head. Yes, I am ashamed to say I gave him a good telling off. However, he appears to have forgiven me as he has adopted his usual position of lying next to me upon my jewelled chaise-longue and forcing my left arm into a most disadvantageous position causing me significant discomfort as I type this nonsense. And farting most unappealingly.
Shall we get on with writing something about Canadian gothic metal goddess Lindsay Schoolcraft’s “Worlds Away” album, then? The first thing you should know is that this release is by no means a heavy metal record, as Lindsay has reinvented some of her music for strings and electric harp as well as recorded two new songs written for the harp. A notable feat for Ms. Schoolcraft is that if you were listening to this album in isolation, that is to say if you were not aware of these songs before playing this, then you would not be aware that they are harp and string-based re-imaginings of existing songs. This is a plus and showcases the basic high quality of the songwriting. Lindsay has a very appealing voice, her mezzo-soprano (bordering on contralto in parts) lilting and soothing and flowing with the glissandos on her harp. This is a record best listened to in a dark room, through headphones, in silence. Then, and only then, will you understand the bewitching quality of the music. And it’s also gothic as fuck. Songs of darkness, broken hearts and shattered love abound, most noticeably on ‘Dangerous Game’ where Lindsay manages to convey the deep sorrow, crushing sadness and barely contained rage that accompanies a cheating lover and their shenanigans being uncovered.
Lindsay is accompanied on several tracks by original Evanescence drummer Rocky Gray, who adds some interesting flavours of electronic percussion, particularly appealingly on album closer ‘Warn Me’ as he adds a powerful cadence to the sensuous gentleness of Lindsay’s voice and harp. It is also a very worthy album closer as it brings the haunting, darkly romantic quality of the rest of the record to a rushing, thunderous climax (fnarr fnarr). ‘Masquerade’ has a carnival-like sound to it, underpinning a cinematic-quality lyric that instantly transports you to the inside of Lindsay’s head and is one of the finer songs on the record, resonant and thrilling. ‘Dance On The Strings’ benefits from a particularly mournful viola line played by the mysteriously named Dagda and sends this reviewer into mental realms of gothic splendour where all the ladies are gorgeously attired in flowing lace gowns, and the gentlemen in brocade frock coats and breeches, facing each other across a lushly appointed salon before engaging in a mirror dance of unnatural movements and disturbing tempos as black candles illuminate a splendid but unearthly scene, while monsters with venomous jaws and misshapen, unsuited limbs prowl the night outside, ready to strike down the unready and the vulnerable…
So, as we haul ourselves back from the demesne of tortured metaphor that I frequently inhabit we come to the point where I have to draw some conclusions about what I have just listened to. I fucking loved this record. I loved the Sharon Den Adel quality of Lindsay’s voice (both are mezzos, although Den Adel is more soprano in range, whereas Lindsay is more contralto) and the lushness of harp and strings. The cinematic quality of the lyrics are also superb and as I said previously, this is a record best listened to in the dark, in headphones and in seclusion. Then, and only then, will you be able to appreciate the gothic splendour of the music Lindsay Schoolcraft has created. Only then will you be able to appreciate its lustre. Also, it helps if you are actually a sad old goff like what I am.
Lush, staggeringly beautiful, emotional, challenging and frankly gorgeous. It is proof that quality songwriting is key to great music, regardless of genre because the sparse instrumentation and reliance on Lindsay’s voice solely should have been a demerit, but it isn’t in this case as instead it provides a very intimate listening experience. No, I’m not going there about intimacy. Dark Juan is perfectly able to behave himself, thank you very much. Most of the time.
The Patented Dark Juan Blood Splat Rating System(Le système breveté d’évaluation des éclaboussures de sang Dark Juan, pour les Canadiens françaises. De rien) awards Lindsey Schoolcraft 9/10 for a small piece of Gothic splendour. I’m all overcome. Waft my fevered brow.
01. Worlds Away
03. Darkness Falls
04. Fading Star
06. Where I Fall
07. Dance On The Strings
08. Dangerous Game
09. Your Mind
11. Warn Me
Lindsay Schoolcraft – Vocals, Lyrics, Electric Harp, String Direction, and Co-Production
Spencer Creaghan – Additional String Programming on ‘Worlds Away’, ‘Darkness Falls’, and ‘Warn Me’
Dagda – Viola on ‘Darkness Falls’, ‘Stranger’, ‘Dance on the Strings’, ‘Your Mind’, and ‘Where I Fall’
Rocky Gray – Electronic beats on ‘Worlds Away’, ‘Stranger’, and ‘Warn Me’
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