Is it wrong to call an album chipper? If you think so, try one
listen to the self-titled debut of L.A. newcomers dios,
and perhaps you'll change your mind. In fact, it's a bit difficult
to imagine these guys in a dark, smoky club, or a moody recording
studio. Almost the entire album sounds like a summer day: warm
and sunshiny, happy and breezy, carefree and cheerful. It could
very well have been recorded on a green lawn or a beach in southern
California. Even their attempts at melancholy have a certain tongue-in-cheek
feel to them, as if they were merely having fun with minor chords.
Take the first track, "Nobody's Perfect", for example.
What could potentially have been a weepy break-up song - and a
track that really drags the album down before it ever gets off
the ground - sounds more like slight mockery of the genre of weepy
break-up songs. With lyrics like, "I can't be what's wrong
with you/you can't hold me liable," you can almost picture
them sticking their tongue out at the ex as she walks out the
door. And then they go into "Starting Five", possibly
one of the perkiest songs ever written, replete with sound effects
like warbling birds and a chorus made entirely of falsetto, staccato
From there, they move seamlessly from songs influenced by Simon
and Garfunkel to Beach Boys to pre-Revolver
Beatles. It's as if they'd gathered up all of the music
from the height of early 1960s optimism, added their own lyrics,
put it in a blender, poured it over ice, and served it to their
listeners at a beach party. And why not? We've all had our fill
of rap-metal and goth-industrial; a day in the sun is a welcome
change. Sure, it has the potential of being cheesy and trite,
but these guys seem to have a knack for combining true musical
ability, clean harmonies, a great sense of humor, and a crisp,
refreshing perspective. From pseudo-ballads like "50 Cents"
to poodle skirt waltzes like "The Uncertainty", there's
always a lighthearted element to whatever they do. And, like the
Super Furry Animals and other bands joining this retro-happy
movement, they aren't afraid to be smart-asses once in a while.
In fact, some of the finest moments on the album are when they
put relatively negative lyrics to excessively happy music, as
in "You'll Get Yours": "Fuck all that shit/of staying
friends/I don't want to see your face no more." Whatever
it is they're doing at the moment, it's always fresh and interesting.
They perfectly sum it up for themselves, again on "You'll
Get Yours": "Yeah, I have options."
- Emily Strong
1. Nobody's Perfect
2. Starting Five
3. The Uncertainty
4. 50 Cents
5. All Is Said and Done
6. You'll Get Yours
8. You Make Me Feel
9. Just Another Girl
10. You Got Me All Wrong
11. Meeting People
12. All My Life
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