The Don'ts excel in creating an almost surreal art-house
funk that grabs you with its eclectic nature and keeps you listening
with well-developed hooks and lines. Almost silly at points, the
whimsical vibe is just a front to truly awe-inspiring depth and
colour that you can't help but take notice of.
If you were to take the Talking Heads and transport them
to today, you might get a feel for what The Don'ts sound like;
while not a one to one comparison in any way the lyrical flow
is heavily remicenct of David Byrne or maybe even the B-52's,
with a kind of laconic latent energy which just pops like a cork
at times. It would be easy to focus on this one aspect and strictly
label them as such, but that would be extremely wrong and limiting
as this band mastered the layering of sound to create many levels
of existence. Layering can become one of those perpetual double-edged
swords; if you don't have enough, you appear hollow and bare,
while if you add too much, you can just sink the sound to nil,
completely sabotaging the songs. Here, a perfect balance is achieved
that is both easy to follow and vast enough to be worthy of study.
What is most noteworthy is the pure unadulterated movement that
the band maintains and is moreover excellently captured on this
mere disc. Having that force is one thing, but being able to capture
it is even more difficult; many a good band has lost that feel
when compromised to an album. Production deserves many kudos for
bottling that energy which feels like a huge spring ready to release
at any moment, and it does with awesome hooks and mind-blowing
changes that just as quickly reset into a pounce position. Even
the slower material maintains this tension in surprising ways,
like a beast in a cage pacing back and forth.
The album works on so many levels, as the songs could easily
be viewed from a solitary standpoint or as the group they are.
Transitions between songs lend to the fluidity of play, and make
me recommend playing this in the background of a good party, that
ebbs and flows with the music. Among my favorites is "Worldview"
for its precision in layering that reminds me of They Might
Be Giants, or with the more astute "Motherfather"
which could have possibly been on a Pink Floyd album. But
"Blahblahblah" catches me every time with its blatent
beat, rolling bass and quirky-intelligent vocal lines.
For all of the above The Dont's demand your attention and deserve
1) Hands Inside The Bus
3) Plastic We All Are
4) Throwing It All Away
5) Dial Tone
6) AKA Sob
8) Measure Up
11) I Get Back Up
12) Stay Awake
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