Thursday 31 December 2015

Dongmyo Police Box - Dreams

Article by KevW

One of the first things I noticed when listening to South Korean band Dongmyo Police Box was what a great grasp of the English language they had. Not so much in term of lyrics (plenty of people are fluent in more than one language) but in the fact that there's not even a hint of an accent; the voice sounds incredibly western. Checking their bio, Dongmyo Police Box actually contain members from Canada and England as well as South Korea, with their singer's name being Steve David. So it sounds as though this is a coming together of musical minds from right across the globe.

Second album 'Dreams' (so called because every track represents the dream of a better future) takes in post-punk and indie-rock that's nicely made and packs a punch. This sound is perhaps summed up by the title-track, although they're hardly the first to sing about "the daily grind" and not letting "the man" bring you down, but it has the energy and steely determination to pull it off. Sonically comparable is 'The Ruse' which is perhaps a better song and shows how tight the band are. 'Fight or Die' belongs in the same bracket and even introduces a pinch of ska, while 'Nations' brings in a glam stomp, a prowling riff and a big chorus. Social and political commentary are running themes lyrically, perhaps not more so than the anti-nuclear, anti-war and anti-poverty sentiments of 'Musudan Missiles'.

It's when Dongmyo Police Box ease back a touch that we get the best results, as with the spangly guitar, harmonies and more atmospheric 'Vices', although it's hardly ambient and is still very much a rock song, but they allow themselves space and time to experiment a little more. 'ONS' (which stands for One Night Stand) is something of a standout with a more expansive feel, a nice fluidity and neat guitar, again not following a set of rules which affirms the fact that Dongmyo Police Box are at their best when they let the leash off and roam free. A further highlight comes with the more majestic 'Safe Hands' which feels slightly cinematic. They lay into the American dream on 'Hello Yankee', which is once more a decent song, but feels a little forced compared to those freer tracks, and the bluesy 'Little House' wraps thing up nicely. 'Dreams' is a solid album for sure, but you get the sense that these guys have a bit more in their locker yet. It'll be interesting to see where they take things next.

Dongmyo Police Box's website

Buy: 'Dreams'.

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