Monday, 29 November 2010

Divine Inspiration: Daddy Lion Recall US Indie's Finest

I'm currently waist deep in Michael Azerrad's wonderful chronicles of the 80's American indie rock scene, Our Band Could Be Your Life.  Against that backdrop, any current submissions that count influences from that period....The Replacements, Sonic Youth, Dinosaur Jr et al....are especially likely to receive a favourable ear. Just a wee hint to the musically talented amongst you.

In actual fact, I should have covered Washington D.C.-based Daddy Lion a couple of weeks back as I had promised. Time and tide and holidays wait for no man, however, so here we are, better late than buried in a pile of forgotten e-mails. I digress...

MP3: Daddy Lion - Divine
Taken from the new self titled EP, out now - BUY

Daddy Lion actually evoke more of a Hüsker Dü vibe than any of the aforementioned bands, with perhaps a dash of the Dino Jr thrown in to keep things hazy. Initially I focused on the more laid back tones of Morning and its video journal of stuffed lion ennui (below). Fair enough, a pleasant, slow burn tune with replay value. The real joy, for me at least, lies in the rest of their new self-titled EP, however, so I'm glad I had to come back to remind myself of their sound.

From rollicking opener Divine to the final reflections of Tomorrow, this is a release that ties so many positive influences together into a contemporary form of indie, heavy on the rock. The guitars are awash with the rough, dense sound of the 80's, but often emerge from the ether to shimmer a little before giving way to a more robust stomp. Divine colours outside the lines with an almost rockabilly swagger to both the music and singing. Falling To Pieces (Through With You) is more restrained and the only track over 5 minutes, straying into more psychedelic territory with the drawled vocal and backing synths.

Just Die Young is the closest the band nod to Dinosaur Jr, the languid-yet-driven guitar lines setting a glorious groove on which the rest of the band surf to a satisfyingly immediate high. The solo that closes the track is the icing on the cake and morphs splendidly into the acoustic strum of the previously covered Morning.

Appearance has a vaguely country tinge at the start, something that quickly fades as the recurring Bob Mould-isms of Jeremy Joseph's vocal take centre stage. The worldy quality behind his voice belies his mere 27 years of age and lends added authority to songs that are already oozing gritty integrity. Closer Tomorrow solders a pulsing synth to the underbelly of its acoustic-led reflection, interspersing quieter passages with heavily layered trips to great effect.

The end result here is an addictive, evolving listen that stands up - and positively encourages - return spins. There's much more going on than simply the sum of some (admittedly excellent) influences, with dashes of various styles laced throughout the songs. That they require your repeated listens only adds to the experience, a pleasure rather than a chore.

For anyone becoming jaded with the glo-no-lo-fi-chill waves that make up much of the current indiesphere, bands like Daddy Lion are a refreshing splash of established indie-rock spring water. Fully formed songs played with passion and integrity are the order of the day and this band serves them up confidently on their debut EP. Go grab it today.

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