Thursday, July 25, 2013

REVIEW: Dub Noir - Pick Your Century

Although Pick Your Century is their debut album, Dub Noir was formed a decade ago by guitarists Joe Howell and Casey Immel-Brown.  Perhaps surprising for a band based in Columbus, Ohio, their sound seems to be a close kin of the New Zealand guitar pop, the UK C86 bands or Australia's The Go-Betweens.  Due to several members moving from Columbus, the band is on hiatus.  However, Portland's Shelflife Records has a fine ear for underexposed pop bands, and has assembled 11 tracks recorded between 2003 and 2006.  Take the album for a test drive with jangling "The Careerist".  It is a wonderful song, and reminds me of New Zealand's The Chills and the excellent album released by Phil Wilson of  C86 band The June Brides a few years ago.

Dub Noir slows down the pace on a few tracks (for example, "Beneath the Wheel"), but most of the tracks utilize a quicker beat, which I think is the best approach for this kind of pop music.  Overall, this album rates well with me for the following reasons.  First, I love jangle pop, and these boys do it well.  Second, the melodies reflect excellent songwriting; the melancholy tones and Brydsian jangle of "Grim Expectations", the stormy chords of "Disco Lights" and every single second of the title track never fail to bring a smile to my face.  Third, a band this good deserves to be collected by guitar pop fans, and given the current status of Dub Noir, it isn't certain that there will ever be anything else to collect.

The band credits, in addition to Howell and Immel-Brown, are Marcus Matthews, Cameron Sharp and Michael O'Shaugnnessy.  Chris Bailey and Eric Thompson as played in the band for a period of time.

Pick Your Century is out now on Shelflife.  It is available as a CD plus digital download (limited to 100 numbered copies) or digital download alone.

Shelflife Records page for album

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