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True Lies and Other Fairy Tales
Artist:  Cailyn/Dani
Label:  Land of Oz Music
Time: 9 Tracks / 43 Minutes
 
Dani Daly supplies the vocals on this guitar-based classic-prog collection, and Cailyn Lloyd does the rest, which means guitars, bass, keyboards, drums, and programming. She also owns a small recording studio, which explains the very clear mix on this début full-length release from the duo.
 
This disc mixes highly competent, if unmemorable, originals with covers of acts like Aerosmith, Kansas, Hendrix, and ELP. Their self-penned opening track is strong, with a chilled feel that is very reminiscent of Atlanta Rhythm Section’s “Spooky,” but their others are not so engaging. 
 
The duo’s cover of ELP’s “Still ... You Turn Me On” strikes a very different feel to the original, and seems to be mainly a showcase for Lloyd’s guitar solo. Her guitar has a similar richness to Daly’s vocals, making the two well-matched, but the vocal phrasing here seems a bit too ‘proper,’ as if she is afraid to let rip. As a result, she sounds like she is struggling to keep up.
 
For all the technical quality, I am not quite convinced that they mean the songs. Lloyd needs little invitation to run up and down the fretboard, as if speed equals power; and “The Lady Kicks Axe” is too self-conscious to enjoy. I sense such a determination from them to prove that women can rock that they tend to hurry through the material, not trusting themselves to quieter spells. This is a shame, because they work best on the tracks with some subtlety.  
 
They have picked some good songs to cover; avoiding the usual suspects, and all are suited to their style. The highlight for me is Blind Faith’s “Can’t Find my Way Home,” where they have rightly kept the guitar solo down to a few well-placed licks, letting expectation and restraint add to the power of the music. The original was great and they have done it justice. Other highlights are the harmony vocals and some lovely, zinging bass tones.
 
This was probably done on a tight budget, but sounds classy. Their next step is to take off the engineer’s hat and put on a producer’s, so that the sound can get a bit dirtier and the vocals more free.
 
Derek Walker
 
 
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