‘Tug of War’ is Dee Doyle’s first album under her Deetrich moniker, and it’s a brilliant record. With strong, well-crafted songs; great melodies, eclectic instrumentation and stunning vocals, ‘Tug of War’ is the perfect album to launch her solo career.
It opens with the lead single No Job, No Money. It’s a folk-grounded observation on the dire state of the nation, yet it introduces two recurring lyrical themes – hope, and how the good and bad of relationships affect our lives. Second track Yellow Radio is quite different as it showcases Deetrich’s more playful and upbeat side. It’s a breezy, catchy tune that expands the variety of instruments on the album. The record features everything from synths to strings to banjo; as well as the regular guitar, bass and drums, all serving to develop an interesting wall of sound which Deetrich rebuilds and reshapes to suit each track.
The middle section of ‘Tug of War’ is one of contrast. Can’t Sleep At Night and Hold Your Fire are sombre accounts of the damage relationships can do, while Bent Out Of Shape and I’m Alive are beautifully hopeful, resilient tracks. Bent Out Of Shape in particular is the standout track on the album. ‘Tug of War’ begins to wind down as it finds a balance of sorts between the emotional extremes of the middle section. On the title track Deetrich seems to accept that hurt will occur at some point in a relationship, while Maybe It’s Time is a tender song full of compassion. The album closes positively with the forgiveness and reconciliation of Red Blooded Male.
Overall ‘Tug of War’ just feels like a properly crafted album. Quality songwriting, rich musical textures, brilliant melodies and sincere moods all flow through it. But Deetrich’s voice makes this a great record. It really is something special. By turns warm, tender, fragile and angry, it’s the unifying force that anchors this record firmly in the human experience.