Stephanie Dosen,
Ghosts, Mice & Vagabonds
(self-produced, 2003)

When I first popped in Ghosts, Mice & Vagabonds by Stephanie Dosen, I momentarily thought that the lead singer of the Sundays had gone solo. I had to look at the CD to read her name again. Like Sundays' lead vocalist Harriet Wheeler, Stephanie has a light, airy, almost detached singing voice. Similarly, much of the music has a light folk-rock sensibility reminiscent of that band.

The first track, "Brave," is a good way to start the CD. The lyrics, like all songs on the CD, were penned by Stephanie. She sings about how scary life is. Her loved one, however, helps free her and make her brave. It is a very sweet track. The melody is tranquil and relaxing.

My favorite selection on the CD, "Song of the Maydoves," actually makes me think of what you would get if you mixed the Cocteau Twins with the Sundays. The ethereal vocal harmonies (Stephanie sings with herself) during the chorus are almost haunting. This is Stephanie's voice at its prettiest throughout the CD. She hits some high notes where she warbles the vocals in an almost bird-like fashion. Rather than being about Maydoves, however, she sings about being somebody's angel.

There is only one track that has taken a while for me to warm up to. "Milkweed Sigh" seems out of place. Accompanied only by light instrumentation, Stephanie spends half the song singing "Ba-da-da-da-dum...." On top of that, I have a hard time understanding what she is singing about when there are actual lyrics. In short, I sigh because the milkweed does not speak to me. On the bright side, one bad song out of 11 isn't bad.

Stephanie has a website that has a few tracks available for sampling. She also shows she has quite the sense of humor. Her quirky personality permeates the site. The site is easy to navigate as it is light on content. To make up for that, it is bright with lots of distractive coloring. By CD standards, Ghosts, Mice & Vagabonds is cheap! In my opinion, it is worth the asking price -- especially if you liked the Sundays.

- Rambles
written by Wil Owen
published 4 September 2004

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