Recap: Dot Dash burst onto the music scene way back in 2010 with the release of their debut album, Spark > Flame > Ember > Ash released on the indie label The Beautiful Music. Dot Dash members include singer / guitarist Terry Banks (formerly of Julie Ocean and Glo-Worm, among others), bassist Hunter Bennett (also formerly of Julie Ocean), guitarist Bill Crandall (formerly of Modest Proposal), and drummer Terry Banks (formerly of Youth Brigade and Swervedriver). Such diverse musical backgrounds enrich the Dot Dash experience – mod influenced punkish rock ‘n’ roll that delivers on every front. Following their debut, the band has released a winning record at a clip of about every 18 months – 2012’s Winter Garden Light and 2013’s Half-Remembered Dream bettered the debut record whilst building and expanding on the mod-punk template. What does a band do for an encore? If you are Dot Dash you go ahead and deliver your best record yet – the just released Earthquakes & Tidal Waves.
The new record picks up where the last left off with a few changes. There is a new lead guitarist featured on the record – Steve Hansgen, formerly of Minor Threat. Earthquakes & Tidal Waves also finds the band being produced by Mitch Easter of R.E.M. fame (or of The Sneakers fame, for you hipsters reading this). So the band is picking up some abrasive AND melodic elements this time around, and they are all the better for it. Mod punk indie with a slight girl group vibe for good measure? Sounds like a winner to me – and it is. This is Dot Dash at their most assured and melodic, with confidence to imbue some of the songs with visceral guitar histrionics.
The only thing left is a dull ache (highlights)
Opener The Winter of Discontent sets the tone for the record, a pop punk tune that is undercut by sighs of regret in the vocals. A perfect statement of intent for the record, it perfectly balances angst with a feel good sing-a-long vibe. Double tracked vocals, Beach Boys style wordless “Oooohs”, and Terry Banks shouting “Yeah!” – all included in the 2 minute song. Perfect opening tune. Rainclouds uses the Beach Boys influence again (or is that the Ramones) brilliantly. The lead guitar riff is heavy and melodic while the rhythm section locks into a groove. Thru The Dark has a sinister vibe with guitars, bass, and drums all contributing equally to the atmosphere. This is where the Swervedriver connection starts to make sense – there is a slight but noticeable shoegazing element to this tune. Sleep, Sleep slows everything down and is one of the finest songs in Dot Dash’s growing oeuvre. A memorable bass line anchors the song with the guitar lick vaguely resembling the riffs associated with the Sun Records sound (Elvis, Johnny Cash). Drums are restrained yet majestic while the vocals recall the girl groups of the 60’s. The final rave up over the last minute or so is the best song The Raveonettes never wrote. Perfect.
Earthquakes & Tidal Waves is out now and available from The Beautiful Music’s website as well as all major digital retailers.
Verdict: Mod Punk Classic
For Fans of: The Jam, Wire, The Times, Television Personalities, Direct Hits, Minor Threat, Fugazi
- The Winter of Discontent
- Satellite (Far Out)
- Walls Closing In
- Transparent Disguise
- Thru The Dark
- Sleep, Sleep