Album Review: Dot Dash – Winter Garden Light (plus free “Countdown” download)

This is the sort of music that really pushes my buttons. I’m not saying it’s perfect (sorry guys) but when you put guitars, bass, drums and voice together, give them some licence to be loud, and add in songs with pace and hooks, with a classic indie sensibility at the core, I’m in.

This is Dot Dash‘s second album, released on The Beautiful Music, following “Spark>Flame>Ember>Ash” which was released in 2011.  The group are made up of Terry Banks (guitar, vocals), Bill Crandall (guitar), Hunter Bennett (bass), Danny Ingram (drums) and have some solid pedigree (so solid that I have to admit to only having heard of a couple of their former bands, but then you suspect that’s true of most reviewers, right ?).

I can take or leave some of the lyrics and Banks doesn’t need the drugged-out, semi-Thurston Moore delivery he adopts on some of the songs. “Two Octobers” and “Lateral/Vertical” suffer from a double-whammy of this.  I also found the production occasionally too murky for its own good, but there is more than enough here for me to keep this playing over and over and over.

There’s no doubt about the musicianship on offer – opener “Faraway” is something of a showcase for the playing, including an extended instrumental break after the first chorus where the rhythm section give a particularly strong account of themselves.

I’m a big fan of Hunter Bennett’s work on “Winter Garden Light”: “Writing on the Wall” is thumpingly compelling, especially the intro, and there is admirably heavy bass work on “Live to Tell” and “The Past Is Another Country”, the former reminding me of Lou Barlow on Dinosaur Jr’s reunion-triumph “Beyond”.

Of all the songs on the album my favourite is “Countdown” (which is just as well for you, dear reader, as there is a FREE DOWNLOAD of it below !).  I’m a sucker for the solo, breezing in and out of the song.  Banks gives his voice free rein, complete with some quintessentially indie backing vocal ‘woos’.   Guitars and drums combine to give this song drive and dash and the transition from verse to chorus could be vintage R.E.M., maybe something they wish they’d written for “Fables of the Reconstruction”.

Having heard this, I’m off to check out their previous album and looking forward to this livening and lightening up my commute for days and weeks to come.  Maybe these guys are the heralds for some summertime to finally arrive…

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