Review by Pierce Foxe
Antje Duvekot is a ray of light! And whether she shines merrily in the glory of day, as in Merry Go Round or Diana’s Song…or penetrates despair, decadence, or Darkest Evil in Sirens, Milk and Trash, and Black Annis respectively, she is incandescent and luminous. There is a picture or a point or a story in every song. Each is delivered with an engaging charm, which makes her poignant words and sentiments grip the listener, activating his soul. She breaks in upon the somnolent torpor of modern life and produces awareness. And, and…and…Bravo Antje Duvekot!
In Streets of Soho she transposes what must have been her own culture shock, arriving in the US from Germany, as a teenager…into the impressions of a twenty year old woman, come to New York from Iowa. It’s seamless. The lines go by like images on a screen. You are placed inside the scene – very evocative work.
Noah’s Titanic, with its enticingly dissonant intro, casts a somewhat surreal spell. Antje seems to have realized that the “joker and the thief” from Dylan’s Watchtower had more to say…and she found out some of it and said it. “This can’t be my life, oh, something’s been thrown, like an arrow or a stone. Now the solitude is warmer and I’d rather be alone” is set within a relentless, striding flow of images. Her astute use of the derivative is bold and successful. She enriches and broadens the image, not unlike the way in which Dylan himself incremented the traditional character of Queen Jane.
Phrases as sharp as “I’ve got a lot of lost time on the shoes of my soul” are peppered throughout Antje’s writing. The sensation of “bon mot” is recurrent…like that first hot sip of good espresso, that little jolt. There must be twenty of them. If you like a wordsmith, you’ll love Antje Duvekot.
Her tunes are free, mobile, noncomplex, and direct. Production guys might have some quibbles with Little Peppermints, but I listened to this record enough times to be able to sing along a fair bit. It was easy. Her tunes are fun to sing…or sweet to sing – poignant, sometimes haunting. While not sophisticated, her arrangements are compelling, tuneful, and memorable. They stick. They have legs.
Add to this her lovely, musical, somewhat breathy voice, and you have a very appealing package. She puts her poetry across well. And even the spoken tracks, on this mostly live collection of recordings, wear well. She has a nice voice. You like hearing it. She even gets away with a “fade to breaking up laughing”…which is a new coda to me. But her laughter, like her song, is beautifully musical. I could go on for a couple more pages, praising specific images, turns of phrase and such, but I’d wind up quoting the whole record.
Antje sings the words “I love you” twice in this recording – once to that TRUE friend, in Diana’s Song, and again to her grandmother, in Anna. In both cases, there is a purity of delivery that causes you to utter the words to someone in your own soul. Such is the power of the poet.
The nature of light is to reveal…to assault darkness and dispel it. “We shall sing out loud to keep the hounds away,” Antje sings, in Merry Go Round…and so she does. Like I said, Antje Duvekot is a ray of light. “Little Peppermints” is a beautiful record. Shine it into the dark places of your own world and watch the vermin scatter.
Pierce Foxe – June 2004
Posted on July 24, 2004
Listen to track samples
1. Streets of Soho
2. Talk #1
5. Long Way
6. Talk #2
7. Noah’s Titanic
10. Milk and Trash
11. Intro #2
12. Black Annis
13. Diana’s Song
Rating: 5 Stars
Comment: Saw her in Binghamton, NY! She is wonderful! We only caught half of the show and she still amazed us… Fantastic lyricist… This CD is not to miss – you won’t be able to get enough.
name: Chris on Sunday, December 12, 2004