Review Summary: Dios Trio thrill on their debut album, delivering a near perfect album full of exhilarating math rock songs.
Consider this an introduction: Dios Trio hails from Westborough, Massachusetts, where they practice their manic brand of math rock. Formed in 2008, they had a few releases before their debut LP, High On Bikes. None of that material indicated how well formed and ecstatic this album would turn out to be. High On Bikes may possibly be the most overlooked album of 2011 and an excellent addition to the collection of any individual who likes mathy riffs and noodly guitars.
High On Bikes consists of mostly instrumental passages with the odd yelp or “Hey!”, along with soaring backing vocals. There seems to be no over arching theme here, a refreshing change of pace in an era where much music seems to take itself too seriously or rehash over wrought relationship drama. Instead, High On Bikes is just forty minutes of rollicking, divine music. Actually, I suppose High On Bikes is meant to relate the feeling of, well, being high on bikes. That is, enjoying your fleeting youth, hanging out with your friends and cruising around town because you have nothing better to do.
If one were to draw a comparison between Dios Trio and any other band, it would have to be Ghosts and Vodka. However, where that band had a cold, serious air to them, Dios Trio is the opposite. Their songs are relaxed and warm, enjoying themselves for the sake of pleasure, but not over doing it. The guitar play itself is half the draw; the bands’ playing is amazingly technical, especially for a bunch of guys just making this album on a lark. Even more amazing is that the pop craft hardly suffers at all for all the technical wankery occurring. The album itself is well paced, spacing the longer, riff happy songs with more focused, driving exercises. Thus, the album never drags or over stays it’s welcome.
“Japan” starts off the album after a brief intro, and takes a bit to warm up before reaching the money shot at approximately the two-minute mark. The song descends into a noodling frenzy, bouncing and skipping along before it tires itself out and drifts to a close. The next two songs contain much of the same, both exhibiting breakneck and memorable hooks. The listener switches gears a bit with “Squeak”, which features a spiraling riff that spins into high gear at the half waypoint and skids to a stop after less than two minutes. “Minzi” starts with gloriously slow riff that builds in intensity perfectly until it climaxes with a choir of angelic voices. “Spoons”, at nine minutes long, is a tad unfocused but still delivers killer hooks and bouncing guitar lines galore. Finally, the album finishes off with “Fast Car”, a breezy song that is over before it begins, ending with those glorious backing vocals that tend to standout on this album.
Dios Trio delivered a near perfect album. It is a tad unfocused and can be just a bit overwhelming with the technical guitar play and sheer amount of hooks and riffs. Still, the band created what many math rock bands cannot: a fun, inviting album that begs for repeated listens.