Asylum (Satan Stole My Teddybear)

Oh the joys of another Dots CD. Somewhere in the past several years it seems that the Dots have finally gotten their due and many of the older releases are starting to find their way on American shores. This particular CD was released during a rather trumultous time in the Dots long career and the strange nature of the music indicates a lot of tension.

With any band that has this prolific of a career, it is hard for a new potential fan to figure out which album would be a good jumping in point. This particular one is not recommended for a new listener. Rather, it is a very well-earned listen for the longtime Dots fan. Filled with more strangeness than usual, it took me quite a few listens before I really appreciate the album as a whole. Some of the songs, such as the operatic but macabre “Femme Mirage” are difficult to assimilate. Others are whimisical (almost as if the Residents had snuck into the studio), though quite dark in content (“The Hill”, which describes a sniper outside a schoolyard, is a good example of this). Fortunately, the excellent usage of violins and strings creates a very trancelike mood and by midpoint in the album you are hooked. As with any Dots album, Edward KaSpell’s amazing lyrics are worthy of a doctorate thesis and his accented voice immediately lets you know this is indeed a Dots album.

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