Raoul Sinier - The Dollmaker Tales [Self Release - 2020]Returning with an interesting approach to indie-rock, Raoul Sinier's latest, The Dollmaker Tales, offers up ten slices of evocative and engaging rock 'n roll, complete with ups, downs, twists, turns, and all the feelings in between. Treading the thin line between radio friendly and esoteric, there are layers here for everyone, and each subsequent listen provides further takeaways. Taking on aspects of many different genres, The Dollmaker Tales is rock at its core, but the outer layers show that it is so much more.
Rock and electronic collide wonderfully and effortlessly on Raoul Sinier's The Dollmaker Tales. Letting each element find its spot in the mix and shine, the varied styles across the album work together and complement each other instead of trying to outdo or out shine the rest. No elements here rise above the others, and this balance allows for a great transition between not just songs, but also between layers. There is a cohesive flow to The Dollmaker Tales that is built upon the difference between the styles. Sounds odd, but by using similar elements, sounds, and feelings, the disparate tracks are highlighted by their similarities and flow together fluidly. On top of all of this, Raoul's voice carries a serious and melancholy tone that adds an extra layer of feeling and emotion to his songs, and also helps to highlight certain elements (like the contrast between his vocals and the ending drum breakdown in "Everyday Dolls"). There is a lot of restraint shown on The Dollmaker Tales, and the album benefits greatly from this. As mentioned above, the balance created strengthens the whole instead of drawing focus to a particular part, sound, or element. To go back to the vocals, they almost act as the baseline for which to judge the sounds (high? low? energetic? dull?), sort of the x-axis for each sound's waveform.
The Dollmaker Tales is an engaging look at an artist's conceptual process. Taking the whole into account and working inward, Raoul Sinier is able to construct a complete album that uses each element at its disposal to weave together a rich tapestry of sound. Shifting directions subtly highlights different aspects of the whole and changes the tone, tempo, and style. Wonderfully done, this album carries a fairly weary tone that works very well for our current clime.Paul Casey