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This was the last official studio album The Doors recorded before lead singer Jim Morrison was found dead in a bathtub in Paris in the summer of 1971. This was the sixth album which followed a string of hits which included Break on Through (to the Other Side), Light My Fire and the fantastically groovy, People are Strange.

L.A. Woman

The Album
Ten tracks long, this album was well received by fans of the band. The title track opens with the base effect swirling around the speakers which is a positive way to open, however after the song gets going if is obvious that the rear speakers are not used well too often. The drums and bass rise from the centre speaker along with the vocals while the guitars are predominately from the front speakers, but also available from the rear speakers (if a little subdued). There are a few piano and guitar touches from multiple sources which help the song but with so much coming from the centre speaker I tended to find the guitars were drowned out a little by the loud vocals and drums. The source material is old and it shows a little in this high resolution format. Vocals come across a little less crisp than you might hope. The very nature of this album has many stereo effects on the CD such as guitars chiming in on one side and the moving to the other meaning that the CD already has a reasonable amount of positional audio on it. While the full surround option is a step up from this, it is not as dramatic as experienced on other DVD-Audio titles.

L.A. Woman

The Changling which is the opening track and Love Her Madly, like many other titles on the album, feature fairly weak sound levels from the rear speakers. The vocals are just so powerful that they tend to drown out some of the more subtle effects from the rear speakers. There is a drum fill in during this track which moved all around the speakers. While this is a nice change making use of the rear speakers, it is a little gimmicky and the second time made me think they were more playing with the DVD-Audio format, rather than thinking how the fans would feel about this.

One track that does work well, is Riders On The Storm. The song opens with some thunder which does sound better on the DVD-Audio when compared to the CD, is not as boisterous as I was hoping. The vocals use echo and on the CD this sounds a little odd, however on the DVD-Audio this really sounds good. The echo uses all the speakers which is a little odd since there are no backing vocals on many if not all of the tracks on this album, but it does give a fuller sound however this is still not a fantastic audio experience.

Extras
A lot of work has gone into the extras on this disc and it is by far the most impressive of my current catalogue from this aspect. Of course we get the two DVD-Audio soundtracks, and the Dolby digital 5.1 option for those without DVD-audio players however unlike the other discs, there are a few decent extras for DVD-Audio users. Firstly, each track is presented with its own menu offering the options of Photo Gallery, Lyrics, Playlist and Previous/Next Track. These like each extra feature on this disc, are not available to the Dolby Digital only crowd. Each photo gallery is made up of several, mainly black and white photos of the band and accessing these does not affect the music being played. A similar story goes for the lyrics for all you budding Pop Idols in that it is possible to select the lyrics and sing along if you so wish without interrupting the playing music.

L.A. Woman

There is a video for “The Changeling” however this is just a collection of photos of the band put to music. This primarily features the band lead singer, Jim Morrison. It was a little strange to see that even though this feature is only accessible to DVD-Audio players, the soundtrack is presented in Dolby Digital 5.1 so this could have easily been made available to both types of DVD players. The remaining extra feature is a selection of snippets from the bands biography published by Elektra Records in 1967. A few nice quotes and some information that screaming girls will go wild for (such as what Jim looks for in a lady) leads me to believe this publication was originally aimed at a younger audience.

Overall
Sonically, not a great DVD-Audio release when compared to other releases, however this is about the best L.A. Woman is going to sound ever. Warner have made up for less than outstanding source material by including some quite reasonable extras which could be enough for die hard fans to consider upgrading to DVD-Audio for. It might not win any new fans from this release, but I think fans of this band are going to be happy.

 


The reviewer would like to thank Matrix for the use of the original CD.


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