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Johan Edlund is an unsung hero of creativity. His long, winding career with Tiamat has spawned several memorable albums in a variety of metal genres, ranging from death to atmospheric doom. Towards the end of the 90s, however, it became apparent that the metal influence in Edlund's songwriting was losing prominence. Any well-versed Tiamat fan knows Brighter Than The Sun is oddly liberal amongst the rest of the songs on Skeleton Skeletron. It was then that Edlund realized that strangely unfamiliar elements were creeping into his composition. As an output for his lighter songwriting, he began Lucyfire.
LucyFire is undoubtedly Edlund's most shallow effort, which is the point. It's a shameless indulgence in sleazy, unfeeling rock. But in spite of everything that could have gone wrong with LucyFire, Edlund proves he's still tasteful. Even the tight confines of bubblegum provide ample breathing room for him to create some good music.
'Goth rock / metal' is a deceiving tag for LucyFire. In actuality, there is very little resemblance to the post-punk of the 80s or the edgy diet-goth hard rock of the new millennium. The music on This Dollar... is more accurately described as a synth-meets-blues-radio-rock hybrid. Scratchy palm-muted strums and lightly distorted power chords are played over prominent bass, infectiously catchy keyboard hooks, and run-of-the-mill drum beats. I feel a stronger impression from the keys than any other instrument. Shining examples of their importance in songwriting can be found in Over & Out, Perfect Crime, and The Pain Song.
This Dollar... can basically be equated to an album's-worth of songs like Vote For Love. All tracks stay along the same mid-tempo pace, upbeat but not hyper. As previously noted, the synth helps add character to each of the 11 songs. I can't help but be pleasantly entertained throughout all 45 minutes of playing time.
The only real shortcoming I can conjure (aside song title "U Can Have All My Love 2nite) is the lyrics. Edlund is known to be an eccentric, creative lyricist. He can weave pure brilliance with words. However, I find that poetic charisma is absolutely nowhere to be found on the album. It's still undeniably penned by Edlund, but none of it really shines. I'll be damned if I don't sing along with it, but I won't be able to hide the embarrassment on my face as I do so.
It was only after much deliberation that I finally listened to this album. The prospect of Edlund writing pop was, to say the least, intimidating. I don't necessarily regret waiting. I needed time to learn to appreciate his eclectic taste. I can now rest easy knowing I've enjoyed LucyFire to the fullest. For Tiamat fans that still have the taste of Wildhoney in their mouths, avoid this album until the flavor washes out. But if you're open for something cheeky, then delight in this album.
10 / 10