If there’s one thing we like more than a singer / songwriter here it’s a songwriter with meaningful and interesting lyrics. Make that a female voice too and we are pretty much as happy as we can be.
The second single from Dora to cross our keyboard in short order and it’s another belter with sinister overtones, undertones and a very timely and topical subject. There are strong stirrings in the world of independent female voices in the arts. So many times I have spoken to a friend and listened to tales of being dismissed and not taken seriously. I cannot imagine how dispiriting it is given that all of our fragile artistic egos are vulnerable to being battered. Take that and then some.
The subject matter is as chronicled by Dora “Mary Magdalene’s story was used to pressure girls and women into behaving in a certain way, I wanted to lend my voice to Mary to defend herself, because even today, women are judged by outdated ideas.” Well quite! Whether it’s Taylor or Britney, Frances Farmer or Megan Markle or Alexandria Ocasia-Cortez, women in or out of the public eye still are subject to additional expectations and pressures however much we might hashtag #allgendersmatter
So, the theme finds resonance with me right off. And not just me the song made (at least) the semi-final of the Dutch national ‘Art Rocks’ competition for music inspired by works of art. Would it be crass to mention that it was originally written in response to a task for our songwriting group set by your oh not so humble scribe? It would. I won’t then …
The song itself then. Even without the Mary Magdelene reference the religious overtones are there straight out of the blocks, both lyrically and musically. “In the name of the mother”, oh nice. Like that a lot. “The daughter and the sacred soul”. It would be crass (again) of me to speculate about religious upbringings but I feel the influence or understanding of church right there. I have heard it so many times in the therapy chair. What happens next is less foreseen. An earthy growling bass, the percussive bells ringing like the chains that bind. It could be seen as obvious, but it is handled oh so beautifully. It is powerful. My atheistic soul quakes. The lyrical references are both classic and yet so apt that they avoid any chance of cliché. Wait a moment. What’s happening now? OK so I already have ‘The Dreaming’ period Kate Bush (now THERE’S an independent woman who ploughed a path) with the chains and now the almost choir like backing, echoes of the Trio Bulgarka used later by Bush on The Sensual World and the sinister sub bass synth. We’re not a minute in and I am captivated.
Wham! Then this gorgeous reflective, pop, chorus. A dreamy hook, and lovely synth beguiles us BUT. Dora is dark. There is menace here somewhere too. What is she guilty of? Ah yes of course. The punchline. (You’ll have to listen yourself ….) The deep tones of Dora’s voice, breath-like and animal, counterpointed by the choir of angels. The dichotomy of existence. The light and dark of Dora. It’s a shade over three minutes of exceptional music, never forgetting it is ‘pop’ in the classiest sense of the genre. The arrangement reveals new depths on each listen, the delicate acoustic guitar, the high harmonies, the subtle almost overlapped transition from verse to chorus (something scrapes the second time, what is it?) Dangerously deceptively simple, Dora takes a straightforward structure and turns it into a mini symphony of 3m 19s.
There are some exceptional female singer / songwriters working at the moment, actually there always have been, just sometimes been ignored for their male colleagues. Dora is one of the most challenging and innovative. Can’t wait to see where she goes next.
The video is also very well worthwhile checking out. It is everything you might expect from the track described above. Sinister, beguiling, dangerous, innovative and just a tiny bit scary.
Find it and more about Dora at https://doralachaise.com/ and make sure you see the fantastic video