Review Summary: Attention-seeking band name. Attention-seeking self-labeled genre. Attention-seeking sound. The signs may not be good, yet the results are.
In this day and age where musicians are attempting to distinguish themselves from the pack by any means necessary, it should come as no surprise that one band has done so via multiple methods. First, there is the ridiculously stuttering 16 letter name which combines the Batman television show theme with the Ghostbusters actor. Then there is the self-labeled genre of fight-pop, coined because Dananananaykroyd feel that their sound is basically an aggressive form of pop. Two drummers; check. Dual vocalists; check. The list could go on and on and on.
In attempting to nutshell their sound, this Scottish sextet play what could best be described as the halfway point between indie-pop and post-hardcore (if not punk)! But it is the sheer hyperactive nature of debut full-length release ‘Hey Everyone’ which makes it stand out from the crowd. While the band members range from 23 to 30 in age, initial reactions point to a pack of teenagers who have overdosed on Red Bull. It is a hectic and warped blitz from the very beginning and it is one that definitely takes a few listens to get a hold of.
Dananananaykroyd’s sound is one that is built for a live setting. It comes as no surprise that their gigs have received rave reviews and they are swiftly attracting a fervent fanbase. Such energy does not always manifest itself well on record though, so production was clearly going to be vital here. In keeping with their left-of-centre ideals, the band has hooked up with Machine (Lamb of God, Clutch, Mindless Self Indulgence) and the choice ends up being sublime, since the American producer finds just the right mix of raw spontaneity and glossy sheen that is required.
Highlight tracks are in abundance, but the standouts are those which rely on unrelenting and exuberant musicianship. 1st single ‘Totally Bone’ & 3rd single ‘Pink Sabbath’ are perfect examples, with Duncan Robertson & David Roy’s thrilling dual guitar attack commanding proceedings over minimal vocals. Spiky and angular post-punk chords combine memorably with thick driving riffs to achieve a memorable result. All the while, those thunderous pair of drums satisfyingly belt away in the background. Song structures are far from formulaic, as time signatures and tempos are experimented with frequently. Awkwardly titled ‘The Greater Than Symbol & The Hash’ is one of a few cuts that lulls you into a false sense of security via handclaps, melody or methodical pacing, before exploding into a frenetic pace and/or wild jam.
Where Dananananaykroyd do occasionally bite off more than they can chew is with their want to over-rate their pop leanings. It is not the bands forte and clearly won’t have the Britney’s or Kaiser Chiefs of this world shaking in their boots. 4th single ‘Black Wax’ and ‘1993’ contain traces of everything from Ween to The Flaming Lips, but Calum Gunn’s vocal melodies leave a lot to be desired. So much so that their hand is forced into squeezing some ill-fitting half-hearted screams into the former and a near-morose section into the latter. To their credit though, they do get it right with the jangly guitars, catchy handclaps and joyous group sing-along of five minute 2nd single ‘Some Dresses’.
Make no mistake about it; ‘Hey Everyone’ will not be for everyone. It is not an album that can be listened to half-hearted, nor can it be fully appreciated on first listen. Yet, its enthusiastic exuberance and fun nature is so positive that it is difficult to dislike. More than that though, the musicianship skills and intricate combinations on offer should satisfy even the harshest of critics. How the album will age and whether or not the Scots turn out to be a one-trick pony will work itself out in the future. But, for now, open your mind, start the party and ensure that Dananananaykroyd are on the playlist.
Recommended Tracks: Totally Bone, Some Dresses, The Greater Than Symbol & The Hash and Pink Sabbath.
Here’s another thing that says a fair bit about the band’s exuberance:
Last week in Sydney, they had to cancel their gig during the 3rd song when both singers did a synchronized stage jump into the crowd. Unfortunately, drummer/vocalist John Baillie Jr ended up dislocating his shoulder & breaking a bone in his arm!
To be honest Adam, I was totally shocked that you had not rated/reviewed this. When I was looking up similar bands, I saw your extremely positive review of Johnny Foreigner. While I have personally not heard enough of that band to comment, from what I can tell, you will like Danananarama even more than I have.
F**k, I now have "I'm your venus, I'm the fire of your desire" stuck in my head!
Crazy f*ckers indeed Mordecai. The funny thing is that I was very close to going to their Melbourne gig because it was dirt cheap. I decided not to for whatever reason & at the end of the day wouldn't have seen anything as they cancelled it. Hopefully they will be back down under soon. Thanks for the pos.
Oh, are they like JoFo? They got rec'd off the back of the Scottish bands I reviewed mid-July. I'm on it like a sonnet. It sounds like it has enough reckless abandon to get me hooked. You should check out JoFo... amazing band, they have a new record coming out in October too so it fits your NEWMUSIC criterion :p. HOT GIRLS KNOW THE WORDS TO OUR SONGS AND I'M TERRIFIED OF WHAT COMES NEXT.
Pos btw and I've found this and I'm getting it. Also the band name's annoying but the album title is great imho.
Let me know what you think Adam (of the Thomas variety), but remember to not fully judge it on the first listen.
Adam (of the Knott variety), I'm not going to answer that comparison question as I have not heard enough of JoFo. From memory though, Machine produced their album also. Since they have a new album coming out, count them as listed.
Yeah, I was going to mention the album title in the opening paragraph or summary. It's like they want the attention of as many people as possible. The lyrics occasionally do the same thing. I didn't feel it worth it to dissect the lyrics during the review, but there is a likeable - almost naive child-like - nature to them (when you can work out what the hell they are yelping about).
"reckless abandon". Definitely. See news update on my 1st comment. Now that's reckless abandon.
Sounds like it should be DanananananananananananananananaBATMAN, BATMAN, BATMAN :D
Davey I'm four songs into this and if you rate this 3.5 then you needneedNEED to hear Johnny Foreigner, and I'm not just saying that. After the first 3 songs if you had told me this was Johnny Foreigner's slightly underwhelming (maybe - only a first listen of course) second LP I would have believed you except for the accent on the vocals. And they're slightly less poppy, but the overall sound is pretty damn similar. That hectic, almost-punk indie-rock. JoFo have overlapping (half-female) vocals, more maniacal guitar lines and a more relentless rate of hooks than these guys, but there are a lot of similarities so far in terms of aesthetic and overall feel.
I'd always thought of you as more of a Robin fan Adam.
Thanks for the repeated reco mate. Just remember that you haven't reached the album highlights as of track 4. But JoFo do sound good, especially with some female vocals thrown in. Although I personally find that a bad female vocalist tends to stand out (negatively) more than a bad male vocalist, so hopefully she is good. The "more relentless rate of hooks" sounds promising though.
Mmmm, their songwriting tends to be a little bit more straightforward, they're less hectic and 'exciting' but still very fun. They still capture that youthful vigor but I don't think there's as much punch about them. Still love WABWAD though. The female vocalist - name escapes me - is phenomenal, although JoFo's vocals tend to be more shouted / 'yelped' than is conventional, kinda like the 2nd track on here. Lyrics sheets help at times, for example, but when there's gems like Why'd you want to live here if there's nothing but housing? it's hard to ignore :D
I love 1993 off here. In fact, I love this a hell of a lot. They got some tricks up their sleeves; I'll hold off rating this till I've played it enough times to pick up on the things you mention, because I remember not noticing half of Waited Up Til It Was Light's best passages on a first listen. It's very good stuff, though.
I had the word "yelped" written down in my notes for this album review too. Somehow it slipped through the cracks though.
At one stage I listened to 1993 over & over again to try to get into it more. I did, but it still was not quite a highlight to me.
As for deciphering the lyrics, it was about on 5th listen that I finally realised that at the start of one of the songs (I won't say which, just for the fun of it), they were repeatedly shouting their band name. Haha.
I know I am a legend, but you can keep saying it if you like.
Technically, there are no words at all on the "first" track. Haha. So... you are wrong!
Actually, just on that, I really like the closer. It goes for 5 minutes and there is only a 45 second patch of vocals in the middle portion of the track. It really shows their ability to write music that holds a listener's attention.