Thursday, February 26, 2009
Sometimes the buzz about a local band is electric. If you scour the MP3 sites or see any show flyers on your walk to work, you start seeing certain bands playing with the big boys and that momentum becomes unstoppable. Soon they are playing every show and with the overwhelming amount of blogs and reviewers out there, that hype becomes a double edged sword.
As Herb Simon said, “A wealth of information creates a poverty of attention” and with hundreds of people telling you to check out the same band and screaming how they will change your life, it's quickly becomes hard to care about something so over saturated. With the way we all digest music, not only do bands have to be in the right place at the right time, they need the right sound for that exact moment because the moment they get is growing smaller by the day. Bands are dismissed before we really have a chance to get excited about them and that obsession dissipates to – at worst - dismissal or - at more commonly - reluctant acceptance.
“Yeah, I’ve heard of them. Everybody loves them. They’re okay. ”
So here’s the thing. Dinosaur Bones – a Toronto band, just over a year old – is worth getting excited about. They have the right sound for their moment (fresh, catchy, dark) and with the support they’ve generated in such a short time, you can’t help but think they are ready to explode. More importantly, the buzz created is steadily pulsing heavily through the 416, but it's also creeping all over Canada. They seem to have cut through the apathy with only 18-minutes of music.
The EP is dark and melodic, but still raw enough to give the tracks that bite. They exude a confidence in what they are doing, and the result is a shocking mature and dense sound. The opening track - Royalty - explodes out of the gate with dueling guitars, a rhythm section that hits you like heavyweight body shot, Ben Fox’s confident vocals and a big chorus. Most importantly, you don’t get the feeling that the band sat down and said, “Let’s write a song like the Walkmen or The National.” They manage to sound familiar – drawing on some anglo-influences and adding some of the grit of the city – but are dedetermined to form their own identity.
N.Y.E. shimmers, highlighting Fox’s voice but the melody acts as a superbly cast supporting actor. The drums infuse the song with energy and the guitars, keys and big bass line float along, but never steal the scene from the vocal lines. Most people listen to the sounds and textures first, and then settle into the vocals but on N.Y.E., Dinosaur Bones manage to create a nice sounding spotlight that forces you to pay attention. Even on the soaring My Divider, the atmospheric melody seems to travel side by side with Fox’s vocals, knowing when to take the lead – as it does for the last two-minutes of the song - and when to follow behind.
I know it’s only four songs, but these are solid songs that should peak anyone’s interest. Of course the big step is what comes next, but if these songs and the impact Dinosaur Bones has already made are any indication... it will be somewhere fantastic.