Made up of luminaries from Washington, D.C.'s storied punk and indie scenes, Dot Dash arrived around 2011 with an upbeat combination of rough-hewn mod energy and wistful jangle pop, never quite able to completely hide their D.C. punk roots beneath their glowing melodies. The band remained highly productive, issuing their more refined, more sophisticated sophomore album, Winter Garden Light, just a year after their debut, and following that trend, third album Half-Remembered Dream showed up just about a year later. Dot Dash's basic tenets remain the same: a sense of youthful excitement tempered with underpinnings of hard-to-place melancholia, economically tight song structures that waste no time getting to the point, and undercurrents of both R.E.M.-like jangle and mid-'90s post-hardcore experiments with pop. What's different on Half-Remembered Dream is the state of precision and directness the band reaches on almost all of the ten concise, introspective, and slightly dreamy pop songs here. Having poured such concentrated, consistent effort into playing together, the performances are fluid and confident. Even when the band switches gears from the stable jangle of much of the record to the more firecracker post-punk blast of "A Light in the Distance," it sounds natural rather than like a donned costume. They offer their best moments on the searching Psychedelic Furs-meets-Jets to Brazil catchiness of "The Sound in Shells" and "Broken Halo," one of several songs on the album that could perfectly soundtrack a long drive on a foggy morning. Dot Dash don't make any huge changes on Half-Remembered Dream, but they have never sounded more at home and more self-assured, coming into their own in a way that makes the songs on this record attach themselves to the listener with more clarity and distinction than ever before.
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AllMusic Review by Fred Thomas