Dot Dash

Earthquakes & Tidal Waves

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Washington D.C. mod pop band Dot Dash is the unexpected collective power of scene veterans, many of whom did time in pioneering hardcore and punk bands, but put their furious roots behind them to concentrate on the freewheeling melodies and friendly jangle pop of these songs. Fourth album Earthquakes & Tidal Waves takes things one step further in terms of jangle. Where earlier albums were committed to tape, mixed, and mastered in breakneck three-day sessions, the band traveled south to North Carolina to work with former Let's Active member and R.E.M. producer Mitch Easter for this set of songs. Easter's involvement easily makes Earthquakes & Tidal Waves Dot Dash's most sonically vivid album, replacing the scrappy directness of their first few records with a nuanced production sheen. In particular, guitarist/singer Terry Banks' vocals sound richer than ever before, rising above the web of well-placed guitar tones and energetic drums. The songs, which have always been fantastic, continue the shift toward cleaner indie rock that began on the band's 2013 effort Half-Remembered Dream. On upbeat tunes like "Flowers" and "Rainclouds." their mod pop sound twists in a slightly more Brit-pop direction, tapping into Beatles-worshiping riffs and melancholic rock harmonies similar to Oasis in their prime, or a less frantic Supergrass. With roots in the independent scene of the '90s, the influence of cult emo pop bands like Jawbreaker also factored into Dot Dash's sound, and those influences are alive on a few songs here, notably "Satellite (Far Out)" and the moody push of "Thru the Dark." By the time the building album-closer "Sleep, Sleep" arrives in a low-lit Jesus & Mary Chain hue, Dot Dash have delivered their most accomplished album, developing their already strong beginnings and retaining the spiky energy of their more mod-friendly songs while expanding into uncharted territory.

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