Album Reviews: Dishpit, Lake Street Dive, Really From
Dishpit — Dipshit (Montreal)
For a raw and often kinetic punk rock sound, Dishpit delivers some serious goods with the attitude to push it over the top. With something for fans of Gurr and Dream Wife alike "Plaza People" takes at least five of these hard left turns, whether rhythmic or simply tempo-wise, and their ability to let the vocals get deeper or even howling to match is a fun choice. There's a more overt sonic grime on "1000 Ways to Die" as they take a blown-out garage-rock direction, and bring handfuls of punchy moments in their riff-driven track. However they shed the singular-channel sound with tracks like "This Time" as the arrangements spread into a more menacing back and forth to match their uneasy storytelling. Whatever you prefer, it's hard to deny the simple fun of "Trash Queen" as it hits you with that nonstop ball of flame and enough sneaky riffs to make each new listen even fresher than the last.
Neekoe — Red Flags (Single) (Ottawa)
One of Ottawa's most radio-ready singers "Neekoe" explores the dark cycle of losing yourself that many of us fall into again and again. "Red Flags" reflects on how often we'll see the trademarks of this self-destructive behavior and keep going, whether it's in someone else or even ourselves. Senyo's production plays this with a quiet and pensive sound, letting Neekoe's voice provide a serene pull through the track. And a lot of her high ooo's really bring it all together to show the comfort we look for in these moments, whether we should have them or not.
Lake Street Dive — Obviously (Boston)
Lake Street Dive have brought us such rich and satisfying soul pop that they could easily just stay the same for decades and no one would mind. It's the fact that records like Obviously see them adding new polish and glamorous details to their sound that wins us all the more as they move on. All the funky grooves bring us right in on "Hypotheticals" and the Stevie Wonder-like production really adds a brilliance to their timbres that takes it over the top. Similarly a track like "Hush Money" might end up a great bass jam, but with the moody sense of size to the room they record this in it comes alive as a truly cinematic experience. Between the lyrical play and infectious movement on "Know That I Know," you can get lost in the flow of the song before Rachael Price's sublime vocal tones even really come alive. The duality in the energies of "Feels Like The Last Time" makes for a lovely two-sided track, where a second round in love runs into the same traps, with the track giving us the same guise of a love song that our protagonist hits in their relationship.
Soran — Bottled Up (Acoustic) (Single) (Montreal)
With a fresh swing to their song and a more crisp set of tones to flip on its original sound, Soran lets the story of "Bottled Up" feel a little less cramped. The track is a much more emotionally wrenching take on its source, giving every word that extra sense of dire agony. Soran's voice feels all the more tender this time as well, really bringing out an intimacy in their voice that makes the angry declarations here feel personal. It's smooth pop drive highlights the talent Soran brings as a writer and performer, as it gives its downbeat tale an instantly listenable palette to grow on.
Really From — Really From (Boston)
It's really fun to find a band that evades genre definition, especially one that mixes guitar rock and ambient brass. Never settling on one soothing or angry moment, this album keeps you on your toes and often lets both sides interact at the same time. The whole album starts on a dreamy cloud with "Apartment Song" with ethereal vocals guiding you through the tumbling drum spree, before it all transforms into a beautiful sunny jam. They switch from soothing jazz-like riffing to a more angular and horn-heavy rock on "Yellow Fever," letting every break just give their sound that much more kick. The brass counterpoint to the post-punk feel on "Try Lingual" is utter excitement as it feels like two bands are colliding with a beautiful chaos. Their most beautiful tendencies shine through in the glistening "In the Space" for a watery, and warm feeling.