Posted by: pop-break | April 10, 2013

Album Review: Dawes, ‘Stories Don’t End’

jason kundrath enjoys some musical pancakes …

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With so much music out there created on laptops and synthesizers, the idea of a real band playing real instruments and writing music without any gimmicks might seem a little quaint. But Dawes masterfully demonstrates that there is plenty of magic left to draw from the traditional approach.

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The Los Angeles based quartet craft grand, lush pop-rock in the vein of The Eagles and Jackson Browne, infused with small dose of Americana. And while that reference makes them sound something like a throwback, make no mistake: Dawes creates a sound both unique and essential. Sure, the guitar tones are classic. And yes, the harmonies shine like a summer day in California. But the band manages to keep its collective feet firmly planted in the now by the undeniable presence of lead singer and guitarist Taylor Goldsmith whose warm, conversational style provides a perfectly powerful conduit for his lyric-driven tales of wandering, longing, and learning. His voice pours like syrup atop their delicious stacks of musical pancakes. That’s right. I said musical pancakes.

In 2011, the band dropped a stone cold classic with their second album Nothing Is Wrong. On the strength of songs like “Time Spent In Los Angeles”, they’ve enjoyed critical acclaim and a steadily growing fanbase. Currently on tour with Bob Dylan – they’ve released their latest album, Stories Don’t End. Featuring 12 new songs, the album finds the band confidently following their instincts and playing to their strengths. Beautiful musicianship abounds, and the melodies are sweet and sticky. The biggest difference may be that the band has turned the volume down a bit, only getting heavy on standout track “Most People.” But the real draw here is that Goldsmith has 12 new stories to tell, and if he needs to get a little quieter to tell them, that’s just fine. You’ll be happily hanging on every word.

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Responses

  1. Nothing Is Wrong was one of my favorite records of the last few years. After the first few listens, Stories Don’t End isn’t quite measuring up, but Goldsmith’s songs tend to grow on me as the storytelling sets in, so I’m optimistic I’ll get there. Even if I end up enjoying this one half as much as its predecessor, that will still be well worth the price of admission.


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