DRGN KING
Paragraph Nights


2.7
average

Review

by Irving Tan STAFF
January 3rd, 2013 | 46 replies | 7,989 views


Release Date: 01/22/2013 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Sing, are you joyful now?

Philadelphia-based soul pop duo DRGN KING isn’t the kind of band that one typically comes across every day. “And my neighbor told me/I resemble the Holy Ghost,” sings Dominic Angellela, vocalist and principle songwriter, on their debut album’s lead single – a song casually titled after the Christian religious entity of the same name. Meanwhile, a rather disparate-sounding guitar riff and a series of honky-tonk synths spiral around cheerfully in the background, lending the track a rather lightweight and puerile air. If that sounds like a right old mess, let me tell you frankly: it is. Yet “Holy Ghost”, much like the rest of Paragraph Nights, somehow manages to be endearing on several levels, making it hard to immediately dismiss their parent band out of hand.

DRGN KING was formed out of a chance meeting between Angellela and south-Philly producer Brent “Ritz” Reynolds (The Roots, Mac Miller, Peedi Crakk) in early 2010. Angellela, who had spent the better part of the last two years involved in everything from Americana to arty grunge in the Philadelphia music scene, immediately saw an opportunity to merge his varying musical tastes and interests into one project, while Reynolds in turn found the voice he had sought to give his production skills added direction. As the newly-formed pairing of DRGN KING, the duo then spent the next two years writing, performing, and refining their craft, before moving into the studio to begin putting their debut record to tape. It was thus that Paragraph Nights was born.

As one might expect from a group formed on such an ad hoc basis, Paragraph Nights has no easily discernible purpose, shape, or structure. It exists mainly as a nebulous, noncommittal art form, put together seemingly at the behest and for the amusement of its creators. Opening track “Paragraph Nights” is perhaps the best example of this slipshod approach to proceedings: the song’s supple piano riff rises and falls over a bed of shimmering ambient synths and soft guitar notes, while Angellela’s vocal work calls out from the depths with a wan, almost haunting aura. It’s a superb introduction to DRGN KING and Paragraph Nights, to be sure – or at least it would have been, had the atmosphere of controlled calm it created not been shattered almost immediately by the repeated wallops of cheap-sounding synths that form the pivot of the succeeding track, “Menswear”. Elsewhere, the rest of the record can be similarly uneven as well: closing track “Looking at You”, for instance, is backed by nothing more a thin guitar buzz, and without an edge to prop up his voice against, Angellela sounds distant, disinterested, and quite powerless to prevent his lyrics from becoming inconsequential.

But while several tracks do betray teething problems, others like “Wild Night” and the funk-infused “Barbarian” suggest that DRGN KING have it in them to write a good tune as well. The former track, for example, is a fast-paced piece that rides on Angellela’s lofty vocal hook to agreeable results, while the latter is a slightly more eclectic take that benefits immensely from Reynolds’ edgy, hip-hop-tinged production work. Elsewhere, “Warriors” serves up the biggest surprise of the record, as the duo’s loose approach to songwriting recedes and is replaced by an attempt at tighter, more sublime composition. The results are predictably exciting, and it’s probably with no small sense of irony that Angellela chooses that exact song to intone, “People tell me I got no purpose/They’re not wrong but it’s alright.”

Paragraph Nights is only 39 minutes long, with songs that are unrefined sketches at best. Yet on its biggest and brightest moments the record demonstrates itself as capable of holding a substantial amount of promise, a clear positive outcome of the amount of artistic freedom granted to its parent band. DRGN KING may not yet have the chops or cultural presence necessary to make it big just yet, but when they eventually release more music, as they’re undoubtedly going to, they might just make a formidable impression. Theirs is an intriguing voice, and at this juncture, we should not begrudge their learning how to use it.



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user ratings (12)
Chart.
3
good

Comments:Add a Comment 
Irving
Staff Reviewer
January 3rd 2013



7136 Comments

Album Rating: 2.7

First new album review of 2013 yay!

Stream "Holy Ghost" here: http://drgnking.bandcamp.com/

YankeeDudel
January 3rd 2013



9304 Comments


I dont get why staff seems to review alot of albums they dont give high scores to. Like why waste the time reviewing an album you think is a 3? Not a horrible score but nothing that really makes me want to check it. Why not review albums that are very good and need more attention? Seems every time I click a staff review its for a 3.

Digging: Croatian Amor - Genitalia Garden

Irving
Staff Reviewer
January 3rd 2013



7136 Comments

Album Rating: 2.7

Well I'm sorry that we're not your private reviewing agency then.

YankeeDudel
January 3rd 2013



9304 Comments


Ha what does that even mean? I just clicked your recently reviewed albums and there are two 2.5s, two 3s, two 3.5s, and one 2. You're tellin me there arent any better albums out there that could use a review? Maybe Im crazy but it makes sense to me to only review more unknown albums you think are good otherwise whats the point? But its your free time so do with it what you will.

Gyromania
January 3rd 2013



15165 Comments


yeah irving, what the hell is wrong with you? review things you love or don't review at all. albums that are simply 'good' obviously don't deserve any coverage.

YankeeDudel
January 3rd 2013



9304 Comments


Gyro very nice sarcasm!

Listen you can give coverage to whatever you want to but I find it hard to believe there arent any better albums that deserve more love than this. If I reviewed some unknown album and gave it a 2.5-3 (which "technically" means average/good but isnt really convincing anybody) then that just seems like a waste of time. The point of reviewing more unknown albums should be to get people to listen to them no? So why review a mediocre one when you can review a great one? Unless you're just writing for your own shits and gigs.

Gyromania
January 3rd 2013



15165 Comments


what a stupid criticism

Irving
Staff Reviewer
January 3rd 2013



7136 Comments

Album Rating: 2.7

K, so that was fairly abrasive of me. I thought you were taking the mickey but it actually seems like you were asking a serious question. My bad. That being said, there are just so many answers to your question it just blows my mind man.

i.) Has it ever occurred to you that reviews might be assigned, or we might be contacted by external agencies to review Album X for them?

ii.) Statistical distribution alone implies that out of 10 albums, we'd have perhaps one truly good one. If we were to hold ourselves to review only good albums, then the site's Staff would produce like ten reviews a month. Not a very good business model right there.

iii.) What if a given week has no really good albums? I guess we all just sit back and twiddle our thumbs, then?

iv.) We're a music reviewing site. That means we would ideally overlook everything with an objective eye. We're not a selective, affirmative-action filter.

v.) Isn't there merit to writing negative/middling reviews? For God's sake, what might be crap to me might be good to you. Our objective is to provide you with information to guide your purchase.

vi.) Given that many albums are hyped/have some latent degree of anticipation, even a bad review might be waited/counted on. Ever thought of that?

vii.) We all like to be a little mean sometimes.

Gyromania
January 3rd 2013



15165 Comments


of course there are better albums than this, but that doesn't mean this doesn't deserve coverage. how would we know this is mediocre/borderline good otherwise?

YankeeDudel
January 3rd 2013



9304 Comments


Alright thanks for the answer Irving. I dont agree with some of those points (I think you underestimate the amount of great albums out there for one, and the ones the staff do tend to consider good and review alot of times are just generic indie like this) but no need for us to get in some long argument about it. Cheers.

AtomicWaste
Staff Reviewer
January 3rd 2013



1976 Comments


Sometimes negative reviews are the best to read. Kind of defeats the purpose of a scale from 1-5 if you expect to only see 4-5s.

Anyway, pretty good review, Irv. Probably not my cup of tea even from the group name (DRGN KING? Seriously? Grow up). I will say it seemed a bit more of a ramble to me than your reviews usually do (mostly because the second paragraph [which is necessary] seems a bit out of flow), but that happens from time to time. Also I think "best part of" should be "better part of" (comparative, rather than superlative being that you're only comparing two halves).

Digging: Chris Letchford - Lightbox

Deviant.
Staff Reviewer
January 3rd 2013



30865 Comments



I dont get why staff seems to review alot of albums they dont give high scores to. Like why waste the time reviewing an album you think is a 3? Not a horrible score but nothing that really makes me want to check it. Why not review albums that are very good and need more attention? Seems every time I click a staff review its for a 3.


How is this even a thing? You don't know what an album is going to sound like until you've heard it, right? So by that logic if we decide it's not the best thing ever we should just simply ignore it?

Digging: FaltyDL - In The Wild

Irving
Staff Reviewer
January 3rd 2013



7136 Comments

Album Rating: 2.7

Word, Deviant.

Idk. Comments like these make me want to stop holding hands with people forever.

idkpokeit
January 4th 2013



421 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

There's no point in having a rating system if everyone just 5's everything.

Deviant.
Staff Reviewer
January 4th 2013



30865 Comments


There's no point in reviewing if we were limited to simply writing about things that would only exist at either one end of the spectrum or the other. People don't just love or hate things

toxin.
January 4th 2013



12001 Comments


"If I reviewed some unknown album and gave it a 2.5-3 (which "technically" means average/good but isnt really convincing anybody) then that just seems like a waste of time"
Looks like this argument is done but I'm just adding that I literally have no reason to review something that I don't want to review (because it's not like I'm getting paid or something). My latest review was on an album that probably has 10 votes and I gave it a 2.5... and why not? It took me about 35 minutes to write (negative reviews are easier to justify), and now someone who happens to decide to listen to it now has some feedback on it. Not to mention it had a 3.9 on this site before my review and it's an average album, so I might be saving people some time.

SowingSeason
Staff Reviewer
January 4th 2013



15321 Comments


We could keep this going, just you and me Irving, forget about the music and wash each others' balls like it's 2011. Old times, sigh.

Digging: Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds - Abattoir Blues/The Lyre of Orpheus

Irving
Staff Reviewer
January 5th 2013



7136 Comments

Album Rating: 2.7

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAH!!

You're on! Review something and I'll auto-mindpos it like no tomorrow ;)

YankeeDudel
January 5th 2013



9304 Comments


Alright Dev check Irvings reviews. He hasnt given out a 4 (not counting the MBV eps) since last April which was Dead Sara of all things (solid radio rock band with a good singer, but come on). Everything he reviews mostly seems like its generic indie-ish, and even he thinks so because he gives everything a 2.5-3.5. I mean really look at what he reviews. I find it hard to believe he hasnt found an album to write a 4+ review for in 9 months (and mind you the last 4 he gave before that was Neon Indian in September). By all means review some 2.5s and 3s once in a while if its an album you think others will enjoy more, but when thats ALL you review it seems off no? I know you mix up your ratings Deviant and thats good, Irving doesnt seem to.

I dont care much about reading the reviews anyway but at least they let us bump and comment on the albums which is the most important thing. I just think the best albums in your minds should be awarded that attention. It wouldnt even be a question for me if I was a reviewer and I had to choose between two albums without a review/much attention that Id pick the one I thought was better. It seems like common sense, but its your time so do what you will.

YankeeDudel
January 5th 2013



9304 Comments


Oh and Irving if you have to write these reviews because the bands' agency contacted you then you dont seem to be giving them much good press lol.



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