Friday, April 30, 2010

review: De Novo Dahl - Tigerlion

De Novo Dahl
Theory 8 Records
May 25, 2010

<a href="">Two Thirds by De Novo Dahl</a>

Nashville's De Novo Dahl has been reborn in a familiar place. Set loose from the confines of pop-metal label Roadrunner Records, the group is releasing their new record on Nashville's own Theory 8, who released their first album, Cats and Kittens. The joyous pop disco on Move Every Muscle, Make Every Sound has slid into a more morose, subtle downbeat approach.

"We are kind of like Voltron now," lead singer Joel Dahl told the Nashville Scene in February.

According to that article, Joel and his wife Serai were the only two left after the Roadrunner Records debacle and built the band back up.

No matter. It's obvious the return to Theory 8 records is welcome. There's comfort, there's support, there's familiarity. The words "All we want to do/ is just be with you" echo in the first track "Two Thirds," a slow organ-filled(?) plod of honesty, the band asking us for grace, to forgive and forget, and a request to continue on as if nothing happened.

"For Richard Harper" is the first (and really only) super bouncy track, but it takes a surprising, ironic downturn in the chorus with the words "you gotta keep going" sapping some of the energy, but of course, reinforcing the point.

Don't expect much in the way of "Shout" or "Sexy Come Lately." In fact, any leanings to being a 'pop-rock' group are basically gone now, except maybe the mix of new OK Go and Cut Copy hooking up with The Flaming Lips is the new pop.

Definitely think in terms of "Target Practice" or "Rhythm Phd" from
Cats and Kittens. That vibe, that feel--of loose and confident but not over the top--the measure of beats and lyrics valued the same--that's what comes out here.

The first single and total stand out track is "Love Is The Healer"--a nice transition for fans that came to De Novo Dahl via
Muscle. There's plenty to chew on though, "Don't Kill Yourself" feels like its from the corner crate of old R&B and "Dusty Drifter" a road-weary ballad given the De Novo spin.

From this slightly new direction, I'm guessing the matching, outrageous costumes are gone, the effervescent pop traded in for gulp of sobering realism. Like the tiger, like the lion--this album is moody, fierce, contemplative and solid. A different fierceness from a few years ago.

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