Dakoda Motor Co.

Welcome Race Fans

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In the church of alternative CCM, songcraft can often take a back seat to the spiritualism riding shotgun. Perceived as having more God than groove, Christian bands are confined to an immediate audience of the faithful, with little opportunity for secular expansion. Dakoda Motor Co. bucked this trend with Into the Son, their 1993 debut, which had as many musical ideas as it did mentions of the big J.C. The combo has applied the same formula to Welcome Race Fans, its equally ambitious -- and equally religious -- follow-up. Davia Vallesillo's vocals are elastic and powerful; she handles the jangly, 10,000 Maniacs feel of "Truth" as easily as she does "Rockin' in the Mall"'s faux 1950s rave-up. In addition to Vallessillo's always engaging singing, Race Fans features a stronger lead vocal presence from guitarist and band co-founder Peter King. "Uglier" is a rattling punk-pop number with treated King vocals, while "Stand Up" finds the dynamic duo trading lines and harmonizing over muscular tracks spiced up with a wah wah guitar reminiscent of School of Fish's "Three Strange Days." It's just one cut on the album that benefits greatly from the addition of second guitarist Elliot Chenault. Worship and message are still job Number One for Dakoda Motor Co. But with their energetic sound and tightly-written songs, they're proving that preaching doesn't have to sound boring.

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