Dorothy | 28 Days In The Valley | Rating: 8.5/11 |
I’m just going to go there and say that Dorothy Martin isn’t in Kansas anymore: that is, if Kansas were a hell-raising, whiskey throated, fist clenched, thrash till the wheels come off state of mind. That Dorothy burned through some demons in order to emerge all phoenix-like and purified on the other side by her own fire. It’s the only case of self-immolation that should be applauded and it has yielded a sophomore album that allows Dorothy (the band and the woman) to stretch in unfamiliar yet charming directions.
28 Days In The Valley boasts 13 songs presenting a deep and striking shift from the bruising grunge and metallic bluesy rock of her dynamic debut, ROCKISDEAD, which hit like a Dio devil horned sledgehammer. A shift from balls to the wall ferocity into open-faced, contemporary vulnerability flying under California sun with the repurposed wings of a flower child. With a producer and co-writer assist from Linda Perry, Dorothy gets to flesh out her bumpy road to emotional wisdom with shades of torch and twang (grazing close to the bone of ROCKISDEAD closing song, “Shelter”), shimmering psychedelia, guitar rock and old school Jefferson Airplane. Album opener “Flawless” is an anthemic and potent balancing act of “you done me wrong” and “I deserve better” where “White Butterfly” feels like a Black Crowes song that would have fit snugly on their glorious Warpaint album (and if Chris Robinson and Dorothy ever decide to make something happen, I would not be mad at it).
Dorothy’s womanly, rock n roll, take-no-shit attitude is as healthily intact and present as is her soaring and soulful voice, but so now is an air of spiritual awake and aware. Songs like “Freedom” and “Mountain” fiercely blossom by her embracing the softness and the strength. It ain’t always pretty (“Black Tar & Nicotine”) but it’s impossible for light to exist without the dark, so don’t be surprised if you feel inclined to break out the go-go boots and shimmy your way through “On My Knees.”
28 Days In The Valley is a case of Dorothy songs getting bigger and meatier (while the production paints soundscapes that feel oddly organic and vintage) as well as carving out her own artistic groove by not allowing her enormous talent to settle into anyone’s idealized musical fashion.
At the end of the day, Dorothy makes a pretty badass flower child.