Release Date: Apr 29, 2016
Record label: Sub Pop
True to its penchant for lipstick and lingerie, glam rock has proven to be the most promiscuous of musical genres. Its sneering, transgressive attitude and electric-warmongering paved the way for punk, but its theatrical flair also connects it to the caped crusaders of prog. And since its early ’70s heyday, glam rock’s aesthetics have been revamped by everyone from synth-pop androgynes to hair-metal shriekers to 21st-century boys and toys alike.
From the opening rag-time piano of Eye Of A Hurricane, Louisiana native Kyle Craft rolls you in a vintage morass of late Bowie, mid-70s Dylan and Elton John circa Don’t Shoot The Piano Player, yet still manages to come out with his own personality intact. He has a beautiful holler of a voice, one moment ragged, the next howling like a dog, before reaching tunefully up toward the heavens. Craft returned home to the banks of the Mississippi especially to write this album, vividly summoning up his memories of old relationships, nakedly detailing the ins and outs so effectively that it’s as though you were there with him, like Blood On The Tracks but less vicious.
Kyle Craft is a strange creature. His debut album, Dolls of Highland, is stranger still. Set for release through iconic record label Sub Pop, it’s not what you might expect from an artist who claims he’s most inspired by David Bowie. Instead, the album plunders a wide range of genres to create something familiar yet hard to pin down.
Kyle Craft is self-taught, not part of a musical family, and grew up in a small Louisiana town where no bands ever came to play. With all that in mind, he has no right to make a debut album this damn good. Dolls of Highland, Craft’s ambitious debut, is being released 29 April on Sub Pop Records, the indie darling record label based in the Pacific Northwest, where Craft moved years ago to escape his hometown of Shreveport.
Possessing a voice geared for rock & roll and an audacious approach to music to match, Kyle Craft channels elements of the blues, glam, and protest folk on his vibrant debut for Sub Pop. The Portland-based musician manages to capture the energy of a barroom band performance on Dolls of Highland, despite the fact that the vast majority of the album was performed and recorded by Craft alone during a return trip to his hometown of Shreveport, Louisiana. He's dedicated the album to the city and its trail of heartbreak, which provided the inspiration for Dolls of Highland (Highland being a neighborhood of Shreveport).
The USA is a big place. A fact just as true now as in the early 70s, from whence Craft’s debut finds much of its influence. And having grown-up on the banks of the Mississippi, then relocated to Portland, Oregon, Dolls of Highland arrives rather unsure of its location, feeding melodic, alt-country hooks and singer-songwriter motifs into a vaguely retro, generic Americana – one foot in a Louisiana tavern, the other far more comfortable in hipper locales.