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Iris, Donnie - 1997 Poletown

ARTIST: Iris, Donnie
ALBUM: Poletown
LABEL: Seathru
YEAR: 1997


LINEUP: Donnie Iris - vocals, rhythm guitars * Mark Avsec - keyboards, accordion, background vocals * Marty Lee - lead and rhythm guitars, acoustic guitars * Albritton McClain - bass * Kevin Valentine - drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 Poletown * 02 How You Gonna Mend It? * 03 Valerie * 04 I Am Your Eyes * 05 The Stalker * 06 Don't Want To Be A Hero * 07 I Lie Down * 08 Bitter Lemons * 09 Hey Rembrandt * 10 Scream * 11 Within Me + Without You * 12 Come, Come, Come * 13 Cross The Rubicon


All the regulars are back for another crack at music-making - Donnie Iris style. The above lineup is timeless, considering most of these cats have been there right at the start - as part of Donnie Iris And The Cruisers. All during his career, Donnie has put out an eclectic collection of tunes, from the 'one thousand overdubs' of 'Ah Leah' to the rollicking good time fun of 'Intentional Infliction Of Emotional Distress' - wow, what a handle! Even during this album 'Poletown', Donnie does a lot of spoken word stuff, a la Robbie Robertson or Lou Reed - trying to recite a story rather than sing it. Still interesting stuff though.

The Songs
The title track 'Poletown' kicks us off, musically brazen, typically stubborn - like a rebellious teenager. Track two delivers some urgency - asking us the question 'How You Gonna Mend It'? Donnie and the boys move into Mellancamp territory with the track 'Valerie', acoustic flavours, tight drums, and the vocals to match. 'I Am Your Eyes' features some growling guitar with the phasers set to stun, and some sci-fi effects in the background. Not sure what all the heavy breathing was all about at the start of 'Don't Want To Be A Hero'. The guys get all 'stripped down' for the tune 'Hey Rembrandt', Avsec's organ work taking us back to the sixties. The last track 'Cross The Rubicon' is an ambient piano based ballad, where Donnie's storytelling climbs to new heights. An album full of contrasts, perhaps at the end of the day - too many.

In Summary
'Poletown' is a departure from his earlier work, and is a long way removed from the slices of AOR we witnessed on 'Fortune 410' or 'The High And The Mighty'. Donnie previously had his own website, but this has since slipped beneath the waves. Instead, a non-official site called has sprung up to take its place (Ed note: is now back in biz). Check it out, and at the same time, get acquainted with one of melodic rock's more endearing and highly entertaining characters.

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