‘Clubbed To Death’

Furious Angels fall

You may remember the fabulous drama of Rob Dougan’s “Clubbed To Death,” an underground hit from 1995 that became ubiquitous in car commercials and soundtracks (most notably The Matrix). The full-length Furious Angels expands on the single’s cinematic grandeur adding Dougan’s own rough-hewn voice to the mix of mid-tempo grooves and orchestral power all written, arranged and mostly performed by Dougan.

Interesting that this former Aussie now living in the UK, whois such an in-demand producer/

remixer (Dougan’s worked with Kylie Minogue, The Pet Shop Boys and Moby), would spend the time to develop his own sound and vision as a songwriting artist rather than take the easy club route that certainly was open to him after such success.

There is passion in his Tom Waits-like rasp which works well for the desolate mood of these cabaret noir-soaked songs with titles like “Left Me For Dead” and “Speed Me Towards Death.” (Do we sense a theme here?) The lyrics however can get a little overblown and self-conscious, sort of like Nick Cave found mumbling in the chill out room, if you know what I mean – sexy in a despairing kind of way but not terribly interesting after a few minutes. In fact it’s not easy to stay connected to the material over these 15 songs (featuring not one or two but three versions of his hit “Clubbed To Death”). They all blend together in their sadness.

And frankly when the beats are gone and it’s all stripped down to piano and strings, as on “Drinking Song,” it becomes clear that Dougan may more of a Waits rip-off than an original artist with something of his own to offer. Too bad his producer didn’t push him further.

FURIOUS ANGELS.

Rob Dougan.

Cheeky (import). $27.99.

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Music, Culture, Arts, Toronto

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