Review Summary: Beauty and simplicity in music and style, are the keys to success for this group's talented young artists, who will later on take off for the years to come.
You can tell alot about an artist and/or band by their own ideals, philosophies and applications towards their music and the kind of people they are. What this particular group has to offer, is rather quite the unique. Personally, having listened to this group for quite a while, it's easy to say that this group emphasizes humility and grace, which leaves you with a really good mellow feeling of content inside that's sure to leave a smile on your face after much exposure.
You would've figured that nothing good would ever come out of a place as unknown and desolate as a place such as McAllen, TX which is only a few minutes drive away from the border of Mexico. Well, Dignan proved that to be quite wrong. Personally, their music to me has a sound that is somewhat reminiscent to the likes of other indie artists and such as Broken Social Scene, Colour Revolt, Cursive, Ra Ra Riot, Arcade Fire and somewhat a little bit of Coldplay. Dignan in a way, has been labeled as a Christian band in certain instances, pushing their musical influences to be rather very borderline secular, which seems to be very impressive a feat in itself. Like any typical indie band, Dignan makes use of multi-various instruments that help contribute to the sound quality of their music.
This group has been around for some time, and over time, has progressed and matured over the test of time of it's lifespan existence. One thing that Dignan has managed to have in their sound and in their music, has always been having a very calm, beautiful and melodious sound, accompanied by softened meaningful lyrics that you can tell is rather authentic and had a great deal of thought put into it, than something conjured up in the blink of an eye. However, over time, what has changed much about Dignan in their music style, is the tempo of their music, which compromises the quality of the beauty in their earlier sound, as to why alot of people enjoyed them in the first place.
Before Dignan released their first LP Cheaters and Thieves, which I will be reviewing, Dignan self-resleased a collection of EP's of their work. Back then, their musical style was much different, in which why people started listening to them in the first place. At the time, Dignan had a more "Stop and Go" approach in their musical style, where there will be pauses in tempo and progression, and then continue by building up on an even greater progression, in which now we call Dignan at that time "Stop and Go Dignan." Nowadays, Dignan has began to lack a little in the stop and go approach, which is a very crucial aspect in their playing dynamics as a group.
That's not to say that Cheaters and Thieves is not a good album, on the contrary, it is an album that is sure to grow on you after many repeats. Though, this may be Dignan's first LP, it's safe to say that it may not be their last, and not their best, which may possibly be yet to come. If anything, members of this group may even be very receptive to be able to keep and improve the quality of their sound dynamics, as to why they have gained a very humbling following in the first place. Hopefully, their sophomore album may prove to be quite the improvement in the direction that they were meant to pursue.
The album first opens up with a very beautiful, yet somber account of the personal inner toil of the ever popular tug of war in the mind and heart between God and the devil in the account of this individual with "A Fool." The album then begins to proceed in picking up with "Charlatan". This is one of the fast paced tracks along with "Two Steps" in this album. Charlatan, does have some moments of intensity of beauty in their music, however, I feel that sometimes the lyrics seem like they were forced in sometimes, but were managed to be drug out and improvised nonetheless. Afterwards, we begin to get into the heart of what makes Dignan, Dignan with "What's Done is Done." It's personally hard not to fall biased with this track, but this track is one of the tracks that does still have an element of "Stop and Go Dignan" in this album, which is a major treat towards anyone who would like to have a taste of what they were like if they can't be able to get a hold of the EPs. Accompanied by an accordion, this track builds up with very nice moments of intensity, and a small moment where it's quiet, accompanied by a nice progression of keys.
About halfway through the album, "Two Steps" which was rated as this album's single. Not honestly the band's best work, but it's something that has caught a good deal of attention. The album begins to die down and go downhill to the finish with some really good tracks. "You're My Witness" is a favorite, with a very nice tone. There's moments of calmness, and moments of intensity building and exploding on this track and closing off with some "oooohhs." "Pillars and Pews" begins to slow the album down even more with the church auditorium like atmosphere that it gives. And last but not least, "Whister" which is one of the best ways to end the album. With it's catchy tones and sweet meaningful lyrics that make this track an excellent closer to the album, with the end of the track, the band members whistling the chorus to the song and wrapping it up.
So there you have it. Dignan in a bit of a nutshell and it's album.
Albiet at first glance and listen, people may consider them to be rather "corny and dorky" with their materials, and lyrics. Rather, it is one of the cons that the band currently has as it's weakness in terms of their dynamics, of course, over time, I'm positive they will mature even more and grow as artists and musicians in terms of their songwriting abilities. Though, the pros I believe, heavily outweigh the cons.
If I were to personally rate these tracks individually, it would be this:
A Fool: 9/10
What's Done is Done: 10/10
Two Steps: 8/10
You're My Witness: 9/10
Pillars and Pews: 9/10
So if anyone has anything else to add or contribute, feel free to do so, and of course, give Dignan a listen, they will be worth a few minutes of your time once they take off later on.
Beauty and simplicity in music and style are the keys to success for this group's talented young artists, who will later on take off for the years to come.