Album review by email@example.com
Considering that Washington DC band Dot Dash only put out their debut album in 2011, it's quite impressive that their third has just been released. The fact that they're so prolific is less surprising when we remember that they're something of a supergroup, with each member having previously been a part of moderately to very successful bands (check out our review of last year's excellent 'Winter Garden Light' for more on that). They're not knocking out songs for the sake of it either; much like its predecessor, 'Half-Remembered Dream' sounds like a set of potential singles. They're not a band who need to cobble stuff together to fill gaps and meet deadlines, they're giving even the most demanding fans plenty to feed their ears with.
Essentially this has all the ingredients to be a perfect powerpop record: ten songs, all hovering around the three-minute mark (give or take 30 seconds), all uptempo and all well-written and not lacking in the melody department. Perhaps there's a deep and meaningful streak hidden between the lines here, but if there is then we can't find it, and nor do we need it. Sometimes (well, mostly) a set of great tunes beats any in-depth concepts. That's not to say that these are throwaway songs or lyrics either. It's all good here, but choosing favourites and getting involved in discussing highlights is a bit futile. This record begins with the driving, scuzzy indiepop of '(Here's to) The Ghosts of The Past' and ends with the wavering, '80s-style jangle of 'The Sound In Shells'. Both songs are well above average, and what lies in between is no different.
What makes Dot Dash so listenable (other than writing neat melodies) is the fact that they know how to make guitars sound really good, and simple at the same time. Check out 'Hands Of Time' with its great solo; the early '90s, 4AD vibe of 'Bloom/Decay'; the poppy jangle of '11th Hour' with its harmonies... we could carry on in order through every song, there are no weak links. It may be that if you were subjected to a four-hour session of songs like this that boredom would set in, but over ten tracks it's guitar-pop bliss. The post-punky 'Broken Halo' adds diversity to a point, 'Shopworn Excuse' is particularly good and the wistful melodies to 'Fiction Section' are great. The only way you could criticise Dot Dash is by saying they're not really doing anything original, but then where did they state that they were? The plan was for quality guitar tunes, and that plan has been accomplished in style.
Dot Dash's website
Stream or buy the album
Catch them live:
Mon, Oct 21, DC9 Nightclub, Washington, DC
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