were one of the most unfortunately overlooked acts of the 1980s, but the reason they didn't achieve much commercial success could be because an album like What A Life!
is so inconsistent. The Divinyls
' best strengths lie both in Christina Amphlett
's unique vocal delivery, and guitarist Mark McEntee
's bottom-heavy, grungy, guitar work, and not so much in their songwriting. The Divinyls
always manage to come up with a few memorable songs, such as "Pleasure and Pain" (a thinly-veiled ode to sadomasochism), "Casual Encounter," and the ballad "Sleeping Beauty," but many of the album tracks are hardly memorable. "In My Life" is a catchy rocker, but Amphlett
's vocals (which are usually the highlight of the band's music) sound banal and unpolished. Likewise, the album's closer, "Dear Diary," is a pretentious stab at art that instead sounds very flat and dull. What A Life!
is a solid album for fans of the band, but there are better places to start for casual listeners.