Wednesday, December 7, 2011

REVIEW: Dot Dash - Spark>Flame>Ember>Ash

Washington, DC's Dot Dash was only formed in 2010, but it has excellent bloodlines, as discussed below. More importantly, the foursome of Terry Banks, Hunter Bennett, Jim Crandall and Danny Ingram has a great sound--evoking Creation Records/Postcard Records/C86 jangle as well as the southern alternative guitar rock of the dB's and early REM. Evoking, but not imitating, as Dot Dash puts their own robust delivery on the post-punk genre, making songs that are fresh and immediate, grabbing the listener from the opening chords. And the proof is in Spark>Flame>Ember>Ash, their fine debut album which was released in November on Ottawa, Canada's The Beautiful Music label.

If you require a modern touchstone for Dot Dash it probably would be Army Navy. But rather than blather on trying to describe their sound, I'll let your listen to one of the album tracks here: "Tragedy Destiny" --
Tragedy Destiny - Dot Dash by thebeautifulmusic

Here is a live version of that song:

Terry Banks (guitar and vocals) and Hunter Bennett (bass) were in the beloved guitar pop group Julie Ocean (taking its name from and Undertones song). Terry also was in Tree Fort Angst and Saturday People, while Hunter also was with Weatherhead. Bill Crandall (guitar) was formerly in Modest Proposal (among others), and Danny Ingram (drums) formerly was in Swervedriver, Strange Boutique, Youth Brigade (among others). Given that background, it is no surprise that Dot Dash understands what they do well, and knows how to deliver it. There aren't any slow ballads or long jams. But while the band eschews diversity, they fully deliver on energy and swagger, with a live feel that suggests a real time, one or two take recording process. The album delivers fourteen songs in a bit over a half hour, and I think the songs are just the right length for this brand of guitar pop. My favorites are "That was Now, This is Then", "There and Back Again Lane", "No Reverie", "Alright, Alright" and the shadowy chugger "Dissolve". But the album is full of delightful songs and has no tracks that I would consider filler. Planning for skiing this weekend, I loaded the entire album into my skiing playlist on my iPod.

And here is the aforementioned "There and Back Again Lane" --
There And Back Again Lane - Dot Dash by thebeautifulmusic

The Beautiful Music (label)

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