I’ll fess up now… this post is less of a review and more of a story about how I started out hating this album and how I ended up loving it. Enjoy.
Parasol Records sent Glenn and I Shaded Lodge and Mausoleum by the Doleful Lions quite some time ago and it’s been sitting in our to do pile until now. Perhaps the reason it has taken us so long to do anything with this album is that we really didn’t like it at first.
The first time Glenn and I actually sat down and listened to it was when we were going to visit Glenn’s friend Keith to do a recorded Radio KRUD show together. Listening to Shaded Lodge and Mausoleum that first time was like listening to Bob Dylan if he were a modern day indie rocker with a penchant for dabbling with electronica. I whipped out the lyrics sheet and came across lyrics such as these from “Slip Inside This Gateway:”
The hexagon and necroworm won’t wait
So let the world begin / With the end and everything
You understand and always known
Will disappear and then / You’ll wear a mirrored gown
That reflects this sacred ground
And open up the scroll and read / The incantation found
Morbidly dark lyrics such as those combined with the description on the CD’s case saying that the songs are about “satanic rites, cults, and suicide” lead Glenn and I to joke that this was Satanic folk-rock. At the time, we agreed that it was ridiculously bad, made fun of it for a while, and after it had worn out its welcome we popped in another CD.
For several months after that incident, I never really thought of Shaded Lodge and Mausoleum as anything but that laughably bad Satanic folk-rock CD that Glenn and I made fun of in his car, so it sat on a forgotten shelf gathering dust for a long time. But one day I happened across the CD and a tiny voice in the back of my mind, the one that I think is responsible for my interest in experimental music, stirred my curiosity. So I took the CD off the shelf and gave it a fresh listen. I found myself really getting into the undeniably catchy tune of the first track, “Sham Magic in the Night Gallery.” Granted, Jonathan Scott’s singing still reminded me of an indie rock version of Bob Dylan, but I love Bob Dylan, so it’s all good. But the enticingly complex layering of the guitars made me repeat that first track a couple times just to make sure whether it was as good as it seemed or if I was just going insane. Since I let the CD play to completion and I’ve enjoyed it several times since then, I would say that the music was as good as it seemed… or maybe I never recovered from that moment of insanity. “Sham Magic in the Night Gallery” has even made it onto my 512 MB iRiver. I listen to it quite frequently when I’m out and about.
I think that Glenn still dislikes the album, which is understandable. Shaded Lodge and Mausoleum is definitely not for everyone. It’s an acquired taste. If the undeniably unique concept of morbidly stark folk-rock with a dash of electronic beats along with lyrics that seem more fitting for a black metal band, then this album is for you. Otherwise, I’m not sure if you would enjoy this distinctive offering from the Doleful Lions.
Buy Shaded Lodge and Mausoleum by The Doleful Lions
The Doleful Lions – Sham Magic in the Night Gallery
The Doleful Lions – O Martyr Atlantis
The Doleful Lions – Satanic Blood