Sunday, 26 April 2009

Dananananaykroyd - Hey Everyone! Album Review (2009)

Another (and possibly my last) review for The Music Magazine. I heard news today that the site will be closed at the the end of May :(

So what about Dananananaykroyd? Interesting but not great unfortunately. Big shame as I heard a single and thought they sounded more exciting than they are.

The review:

Ok let's get this out of the way first: Dananananaykroyd is a ridiculous name for a band. A six piece from Scotland, Dananananaykroyd has released four singles and an EP on four different record labels and in the brief time the band has been creating music, they've had two lead singers and replaced one of their two - yes two - drummers. So not a great start but then again most of the band has other 'pursuits' such as playing in other bands and producing 'breakcore' as a side-project. The sound they make has been described as fight-pop, which is a euphemism for shouting a lot and sounding fresh and punky. Most of Hey Everyone! is full of frantic vocals, thrashing guitars and the odd moment of genuine talent trying to escape.

Opening with the short title track, Hey Everyone has a promising start - an AC/DC meets Manics power-guitar instrumental that decays into a lot of messy grinding and feedback. So the band has our attention, what now?

Watch This! goes from riot to punk-pop in seconds. The shared vocal duties of Calum Gunn and John Baillie Junior are interesting even if they are not entirely effective; they keep up a relentless pace until about a minute and half to go when it all settles down into a wonderful delicate outro. Then the shouting starts again, this time with focus and control as the drums smash around the room and the guitars attempt to add some structure. The intriguingly named The Greater Than Symbol & The Hash (computer nerds amongst you will relate) is a much calmer song, at least for the first minute or so, driven by a wonderful vocal melody. Then the thrashing starts and the pace doubles. Some neat guitars hold it together. Within all the noise, are some decent lyrics. Slightly baffling is a repeat of the end of the title track, like a tribute to Hendrix closing Woodstock. It is an irritating prelude to what becomes a truly horrible closing minute of evil guitars, pounding drums and wavering vocals.

Black Wax picks thing up with more intertwining vocals and another great melody. The cheesy cheering adds something light and breezy. "Take everything she's got: rubber and plastic..." is delivered with precise pop proficiency before it predictably gets messy again. This is like diamonds floating on a sea of coal. The same formula seems to be used throughout with few diversions: start well, do about a minute of a pop song, then add some heavy guitars and screaming. The song ends well with some fragile guitar work. Totally Bone, Dananananaykroyd's first single, is a great example of why they got noticed in the first place. It is simple guitar-driven indie-pop, structured and predictable. A Lack of surprises and some wayward drumming is the only issue but the song is a world away from where the band are now. Pink Sabbath continues where that left off, like a forgotten Jane's Addiction album track. "Forget to segregate...yourself" is a great line.

Moving into the second half of the album, some straight-forward no-nonsense guitar indie forms the central core of the album. Infinity Milk is a good example of taking the simple approach of the early singles and weaving in new ideas and a slightly progressive sound. The charisma and chemistry between Gunn and Baillie Junior really starts to come through. But this leads to ultimate disappointment as the initial momentum is lost and it all gets bogged down. An attempt at a rousing fast finish is too over-the-top and incoherent. One Chance is all over the place from the start and does very little in it's short fifty nine second duration. The choral vocal opening of Some Dresses leads into some neat guitar pop. Again some great lines are spoiled by a bad vocal mix and aggressive delivery, whereas some really appalling song writing is appropriately hidden. So everyone wins. As is the now well-established format, the five minute song grinds to a halt after three - into something that resembles R2D2 rapping at high speed. Then it transforms into an exquisite piece of meshed guitars for the last minute of relentless vocals and some excellent guitars. Inconsistency has lead to Dananananaykroyd being sadly predictable.

1993 is a mess from start to finish, transforming from punchy-pop into slowed-down prog within the first minute. The lines here are incredibly self-effacing: "We'll turn your hissy fits into sissy hits" is a one gem. For a band with such energy and power, the momentum and drive is lost so often and songs become as fragmented as a typical Mars Volta offering. It is incredibly frustrating. This time, after three minutes (a time limit Dananananaykroyd should really learn to stick to), the song becomes something else. For a brief time, we are treated to a Mogwai-esque instrumental, then joined by choral vocals singing, yes you guessed it, the only decent (aforementioned) line of the song, over and over. And then drums stomp all over the ending. Hey James is an attempt at a more direct strategy but just ends up as annoying repetition and a torrent of expletives. A definite low-point. The whispering outro doesn't help. Closer Song One Puzzle starts as an excellent instrumental. But for some reason that isn't enough so it becomes a mess for the second third before diverting again into a heavier outro. Take out the middle section and it would be perfect.

Dananananaykroyd is an interesting project. The band make an incredible noise but this doesn't always translate into great music. Hey Everyone! is gloriously musical, packed with twists and turns, ups and downs, highs and lows. The album is not an easy listen thanks to inconsistent timing, lack of structure and a tendency to for Gunn and Baillie Junior to scream incoherently. There seem to be plenty of ideas and enough talent but Hey Everyone! is messy, unhinged, and like a bar brawl between musicians trying to fight their ways to the stage. If it's all about attitude, and not output, in the battle of the bands Dananananaykroyd will win every time. But it is never enough to prevent Hey Everyone! only being half a good album.

-- CS (for The Music Magazine)

1 comment:

Gyenes Zoli said...

Thanks to this article, because this helped me finding this band. I've heard Black wax on the radio yesterday, and the only thing I could understand was she's got rubber and plastic...

I really agree about the comparison with Jane's addiction, this is the next best thing after Ritual de lo habitual.