What does it sound like?:
The 4th album by West Coast band Dawes is not as immediate as the last one, Stories Don’t End. However, that may turn out to be a good thing. Four days, and repeated listens, has meant that several songs that felt a bit like filler have now opened up to reveal a depth that wasn’t immediately apparent.
Let me declare a bit of an interest here – since someone on this (or, more probably, the previous) site posted a Dawes video, 4 years ago, the band has become one of my favourites of all time. Which, at my age, is bloody fantastic. I have devoured their records, seen them live quite a bit and bored friends and family by slipping Dawes tracks onto every mix-CD I make for them. So, I was just a bit excited by this new album.
Once again, it shows Taylor Goldsmith to be a consummate songwriter. Lyrics about lost love, aging, California and the world around him draw you in and, coupled with his voice, soothe your ears. The band are no slouches, as anyone that has seen them live will attest. Tight playing, tight harmonies and a surprising power in the engine-room means that they can bring plenty of light and shade to Taylor’s songs. The title track here is a wonderful ode to an old friend, which contains the line ‘I hope all your favourite bands stay together.’ which is just about as nice a thing as any of us could say to anyone.
This album also contains a bit more guitar from Taylor, with several tracks featuring tight, well structured solos. His playing, and sound, reminds me of Tim Renwick (Al Stewart, Sutherland Brothers & Quiver, Pink Floyd) and I can pay no higher compliment. Don’t Send Me Away sounds like it could be their version of an early 70’s classic by Todd Rundgren, it’s that good.
What does it all *mean*?
It means that there are still bands out there who sound contemporary but don’t want to lose that early 70’s feel, edge and harmony. Dawes wear their Jackson Browne, Neil Young and CSNY influences proudly.
Goes well with…
Their first 3 albums, to be honest. This isn’t some radical departure. If you have ever liked anything you’ve heard by them, you’ll like this.
Might suit people who like…
Josh Rouse, Silver Seas, Conor Oberst, My Morning Jacket, sitting outside in the evening sun, with a glass of wine and imagining you were in Laurel Canyon, in Joni’s garden, while Jackson Browne picked out These Days on an old acoustic. Heaven.