Reviews:: Dntel Dumb Luck

Six years and a lot of expectations later, Jimmy Tamborello has unleashed another Dntel record to the masses. I remember when I first bought Life is Full of Possibilites and fell in love with its dark sounds. I never thought years later it would be referred to as the "the record that has the first Postal Service song on it." It's a shame that people judge Jimmy on the success of a single record, because his diverse styles have provided me with countless of listens.

The record pushes his creativity in a new direction, as he creates a new sub genre: electro-country. On a lot of the tracks, he combines harmonies, depression and simple strums of live instrumentation with his masterful programming skills. Instead of blips and bleeps, he creates vast, mood setting electro washes and subtle backdrops for some of Indie rocks biggest names. The opening track - Dumb Luck - build so slowly that you barely notice the electronic elements until they crescendo and explode out of your headphones. They are like a perfect house guest. They come, stay just long enough for you to enjoy the company, before leaving just as quickly without breaking anything or making a mess.

Tamborello seems determined for people to forget his efforts with Postal Service. Instead of catchy hooks, the Dntel record is a collage of sounds, textures and guests melded into countless styles. The songs have moments of brilliance that grab you on the first listen, but are littered in subtle moments that you notice on your third trip on the subway or on your walk home from work.

Jimmy is able (and seems very comfortable) to let his guests really inspire him. To a Fault features Ed Droste (Grizzly Bear) on vocals and blends layers effortlessly without taking away from the picked acoustic riff. I'd Like You To Know crafts a depressing, but beautiful melody that suits Valerie Trebeljahr (Lali Puna) perfectly. The gentle fuzz and warbled tones of Breakfast in Bed really expand on the promise Conor Oberst displayed on Digital Ash. The same can be said about the minor touches he adds to the acoustic heavy, country ditty - Rolling On - starring Jenny Lewis.

Jenny sings, "It’s just no fun, when you hate the person you've become." I don't think that applies to Jimmy, but I wonder if he hates the person people want him to become? I really start to wonder this on Natural Resources. The intro sounds like a track that would jump into the danceable rhythms and feature Ben Gibbard's trademark vocals. To be honest, even the diction of Andrew Broder (from the fantastic band Fog) even stumbles into Gibbard-esque moments. But instead, the song continues at a slow pace, but really enjoys the tranquil journey. Horns and complex understated beats really show case Jimmy's skills, but don't fall back on simple hooks.

What can I say? I'm a huge fan of this record, but that doesn't surprise me. For people who aren't familiar with Jimmy's works, given this an honest listen. I bet it will surprise you.

MP3:: Dumb Luck


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