Record Of The Week # 23

July 23, 2017

Dawes – Stories Don’t End

I read somewhere that Rock was dead. As useless as that sounds then when you note that U2 are touring an album they made 20 years ago, The Who have a residency in Vegas and your inability to name the last great Rock album released since 2010 then it might be true.

With this rattling around my head then I checked to see what was one of the last Rock albums that I bought and that I still revere today and came up with one by Dawes. Never heard of them? Read on…

This troupe come from Los Angeles and have five releases to their name and in 2013 released Stories Don’t End. What a great album in the mould of Steely Dan meets Jackson Browne and Paul Simon. I’m always drawn to a tune and this band never fail to find a melody that is often delivered with a harmony vocal. The arrangements rely on guitar, bass, keyboards and drums but always delivered tastefully as if the practitioners are so accomplished that the sound serves the album rather than needing any grandstanding.

Guitarist and lead vocalist Taylor Goldsmith writes all but one of the tracks and his observational lyrics are perceptive about the ordinary lives we live. He has the gift for creating a situation that is common but unusual; from here you slip seamlessly into his world. “From A Window Seat (Rivers and Freeways)” tells the story of having that window seat on a flight and wondering about the lives and reasons for travel of his fellow passengers and the dream he has whilst he dozes. This stream of consciousness is paired with a superb upbeat rock track redolent with lead electric guitar flourishes.

“Someone Wil”l is an unrequited love song about a man who falls for a girl he imagines telling of his affections but has to concede that if he doesn’t tell her of her desirability then someone will. Again Goldsmith’s mellifluous tones come to the fore against a Graceland era Paul Simonesque tune with a prominent bass line from Wylie Gelber.

The riff/guitar signature of 2013 is unleashed on your ears on “Most People”. Again more lyrics about someone having views that she alone thinks she holds but frankly… most people do. The pace and sparsity of the sound of the band behind allows Goldsmith to deliver his heartfelt analysis whilst the bass anchors the song, and then comes the killer riff.

From The Right Angle has the opening stanza:

“You have found me on the other side

Of a loser’s winning streak

Where my thoughts all wander further than they should”

You know you’re onto a winning track especially when we put it with a great tune.

Throughout we have a very perceptive observer who’s never quite sure of his worth but certainly able to assess the worth of others telling you about the things that seem plain in front of him. You will listen.

I’m not sure how these guys have not made greater strides towards world domination but at least now you know what you’re missing.

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