UNINVITED GUEST - Malice In Wonderland

Uninvited Guest - Malice In Wonderland

13 songs
50:18 minutes
***** ***
Maddening Media


Experience has shown that no genre can be so full of clichés than anything connected with gothic. Clothes and makeup made me fear for the worst when I prepared myself for the second album of British glam goth rockers Uninvited Guest, but I was relieved quite fast. First of all, Dean Hathaway is not only a more than adept songwriter with the most charismatic voice his chosen genre has brought forward in the last decade, but he also writes lyrics that are light years away from insipid romance. Treating imminent problems like global warming, sexual abuse, self-belief, religious oppression and many more, there are also times for personal thoughts (death of his father, suicide of a teenage mobbing victim), but finally also some lighter material, probably intended not to alienate completely.

Uninvited Guest are best when they are full of drama, as on the opener Mother Nature Made A Monster, the slowly starting but gradually tension building Abigail and the free thought anthems You Are Your Kingdom and Human. Strange Gothic Romance is a waltz that has humorous overtones but eventually feels a little strange after all. Much better is the Jack the Ripper tribute Jack Dandy which has a quaint Victorian feeling. Their introspective side (The Law Of The Playground, Still I Miss The Man) may not be songwriting highlights, but those who fail to be moved by those songs must have a heart of stone. Only towards the end, with the collage Wonderland and the Bauhaus cover version Double Dare, I lose a little interest in the band, getting the feeling that their own material is superior to that of the goth punk pioneers who in my opinion were always a little overrated.

Uninvited Guest seem to be Hathaway’s brainchild. Consequently Malice In Wonderland feels like the work of a solo artist accompanied by a band. But that’s not meant as a criticism. In fact he has such a striking voice, part crooner, part announcer of bad news, part chansonnier, that he stands alone in a field of boring copycats. The music is rock, not metal, and at times it’s even too weird to be classified in any specific genre. This is a memorable goth rock album that plays with glam elements from early David Bowie and Steve Harley, then nods to the seriousness of a Scott Walker, and leaves me satisfied with the knowledge that there are intelligent gothic artists out there.

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