Tuesday, August 03, 2004

All of this time on my hands...

Returning to the Southern Hemisphere for a second evening...

The Dissociatives - Somewhere Down the Barrel - Okay, first off, to get accreditation out of the way, I'm biting off of Uncritical here, and he deserves full credit for introducing me to these guys, by posting "We're Much Preferred Customers" last week. (It's still up! Go Get it!). Now, onto the band and the track at hand. The Dissociatives are sort of Australias answer to the Postal Service. Though the pedigree is far weaker, it is the collaborative joining of a DJ (Aussie House guru Paul Mac), and a Rocker (Silverchair singer Daniel Johns), and the music they produce is FAR greater than the sum of their parts. This track is the Dissociatives first single, and with good reason. Where the Postal Service cop tired synthpop touchstones, (and yes, reinvigorate them, but they're tired nonetheless), these fellows have the smarts to pull a healthy dose of Primal Scream, into the mix, toss in some vocals that sound more soulful than sweet or whiny, and when the song kicks up in the second half, full of reverb laced hand claps, and echoing nananas, all becomes right with the world. Every musician probably dreams of recording one song this good, this complete, this... downright perfect.

The Dissociatives - Horror with Eyeballs - But the Dissociatives aren't done. No. They're going to throw Tom Waits style circus melodies into the mix. And a vocal hook that could be the best moment of the best boy band that never was. And it's going to work. There's a defenite sense of thematicc recurrence here - the nananas heard as faint echoes at the end of "somewhere" return front and center in this track, and give this song the vibe of an otherworldly sort of circus of the damned. And at the center of it all, Dan is running in circles, lost, confused, mourning. If there's any complaint that is ultimately the Postal Services true failing, it's the somewhat mechanical, robotic sound of many tracks. Even Gibbards usually fragile vocals, when run through the lens of Tamborello production, take on a slick, indestructible sheen that takes something of the humanity out of many of their songs. (See Iron & Wine's cover of "Such Great Heights" for the utter majesty that can be achieved upon returning said humanity.) The Dissociatives have a far more organic sound - Johns' guitar work is clearly front and center in many instrumental sections, and the vocals have a rawer, more lo-fi tone to them. It allows a song like this to take on a creepiness that the robotic tones of a Postal Service rendition of Waits' themes would never allow - and is why the Dissociatives, in my book at least, have a lot more promise than the Dream of Evan and Chan.

This is what The Postal Service should have been. You owe this album to yourselves people.

[Buy the album from the bands (Australian) Website!]

4 Comments:

At 8/03/2004 06:21:00 AM, Blogger yet another indie disco said...

these guys are really cool. i like their sound very much. thanks for the tip...
though, "give up" is still one of my favourites bringing me to a new post today.
i'll wait/see if they release over here...

 
At 8/03/2004 03:45:00 PM, Blogger Ryan said...

these guys are pretty good, but i don't think it's very fair to compare these guys to The Postal Service. One of the great aspects of the postal service is their unbeleivable ability to come out with a great album minus the a)need to put in excessive "na, na, na's" to make it accessible b)still make the instrumentals somewhat fresh yet still catchy and c)lyrics that are scond to none...i mean "i...am thinking it's a sign that the freckles in our eyes are mirror images and when we kiss they're perfectly aligned"...come on..i could sing that all day...so even though i think these guys are good....i don't think they are close to the postal service...but that's what's great about music...you like this, i like that...thanks for the new band

 
At 8/06/2004 04:31:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

the dissociatives?! you've lost all my respect :P maybe its cos I'm Australian and they are CONSTANTLY on the radio but I think they're rubbish.

 
At 5/02/2005 09:56:00 AM, Anonymous jamesz said...

they are excellent and this album is a really good follow on for daniel after his and silverchairs 'diorama' album

 

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