Other Voices

The Doors

Elektra, 1971

http://www.thedoors.com

REVIEW BY: David Bowling

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 10/19/2007

Early in 1971 Ray Manzarek, John Desmore and Robbie Kreiger began laying down tracks for the next Doors album while Jim Morrison was vacationing in Paris.

Little did they realize that Morrison was not coming back.

Yet in a somewhat odd move, the three remaining Doors decided to stay together and complete this album, as well as another one, before calling it quits. As is expected, Other Voices pales in comparison to the studio albums that preceded it, but overall the album as a whole is not as bad as history has labeled it.

It is interesting that Other Voices and the album that followed it, Full Circle, are so different. It makes one wonder if many of the songs for Other Voices my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250  were in place before Morrison departed, which makes the overall tenor of the album similar to past Doors material. Full Circle, on the other hand, sounds like nothing else in the band's catalog, likely because Morrison had nothing to do with it, not even as a spectre looming over the words.

Other Voices can be divided into two parts. The first four songs are good and the last four increasingly bad. The LP version was nice as you could play side one without ever turning the record over.

“In The Eye Of The Sun” starts the album on a good note. Excellent lyrics, some inventive guitar work from Kreiger and competent vocals from Manzarek come together into the customary Doors sound. “Variety Is The Spice Of Life” is about different women, with a beat different from the usual Doors fare. Robbie Krieger’s vocals are not offensive but have nowhere the depth of Jim Morrison. “Ships with Sails” sound like an outtake from L.A. Woman and is one of the few times the band sings harmony, while “Tightrope Ride” is a Kreiger production and possibly some of the best work of his career.

So far so good, but we do have to turn the record over, unfortunately. “Down On The Farm” just has poor song construction, “I’m Horny, I’m Stoned” is a poor attempt at humor and features a listless vocal by Kreiger and “Wandering Musician” is old Doors style not but not old Doors quality. “Hang On To Your Life” concludes the album on a dismal note.

Other Voices would have been a competent debut album by almost any other group. The remaining Doors, however, were not any other group and their previous material had set the bar very high. It may be that what killed Other Voices and ultimately the post-Morrison career was not so much the music but the perception -- which is ironic, given how the band got its name.

While Other Voices remains a passable attempt by Manzarek, Kreiger and Desmore to keep The Doors legacy alive, it sinks under the weight of expectations and the loss of the person who really made the band what it was. But just because Morrison isn't here doesn't mean this should be overlooked, for there is still half an album of good music here.

Rating: C+

User Rating: Not Yet Rated


Comments

Pretty so-so, but "Ships with Sales" is really great--moves well with a jazzy texture.
Whoops, "Ships with Sails," sorry.








© 2007 David Bowling and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Elektra, and is used for informational purposes only.