sobota, 23 stycznia 2010
"After three albums, it's admirable how Baltimore's Double Dagger have steadfastly adhered to their spartan three-man setup of drums, bass, and vocals, continuing to search for nuance in minimalism via punk rock. With a title slightly more clever than III would have been, it's no surprise that More sounds pretty similar to their previous two albums, but that nuance is there; even when the band stretches out or gets their friends in on the action, it takes three or four listens to even notice what they've added.
For reasons that seem slightly insane, the album was recorded in an abandoned office floor in the dead of winter-- without heat-- affording the band time to fuss over the precise muffling of a bass drum or momentary squall of feedback; in short, it sounds cheap, but also full. It pays off: Even with the occasional backup vocal or surreptitious extra instrument sneaking into the mix, More feels looser than its predecessor (2007's Ragged Rubble) while being a bit more ambitious. Like everything with Double Dagger-- from their minimal setup to their thoughtful-yet-plainspoken lyrics to the graphic design-- you can tell they've thought it through a few times over.
Some of the album's most memorable riffs don't come until minutes into the songs, which build on themselves simply but unexpectedly. The monotonous punk screamer "No Allies" becomes sneakily melodic, while the placid intro of "Vivre Sans Tempt Mort", with clean plucking and a buzzing harmonium, leads into a blisteringly dynamic anthem, giving singer Nolen Strals time to shout about death and paranoia between the intermittent low-end crunch. Even the six-minute runtime of "Half-Life" hides the album's most affecting moment of cautious, weary optimism in its latter half ("maybe this year won't be like the rest," Strals sings).
ThEse songs are squeezed for variety, from the umpteenth-notes of "We Are the Ones" to the straightforward shake and shimmy of "Camouflage", or the grinning subterranean chug of "Surrealist Composition With Your Face". The sober talk-sing of the verses in "The Lie/The Truth" is offset by the triumphant bellow of Sam Herring (of Future Islands) on the chorus; his contribution is slight but essential. Being neither a "new" lo-fi act nor a day-glo Wham City band (but able to hang with either), while staying politically aware and personally grounded in their lyrics, Double Dagger once again prove there are fertile ideas in the narrowest slice of middle ground."