Review Summary: Reverb-soaked beauty.
There’s something so homely about Dappled Cities recent outing ‘Five’. Everything feels in its right place; ebbs and flows so elegantly that you feel like you’re a part of the album. And maybe that’s what makes me love ‘Five’ so much. All the bass lines, the high-pitched vocals, the reverb, oh god that reverb. It’s an all you can eat buffet, lovingly cooked and presented by five world-class chefs who know exactly what they’re doing.
From the get-go, opener ‘In Light of No One’ fades in with a beautiful crescendo, bestowing the beauty of ‘Five’, letting the bass line plod along as vocalists Dave Rennick and Tim Derricourt beautifully intertwine their lines with the rise and fall of the progression of the song. The landscape created on just this song along is enough to paint an incredible picture of what is to come. Follow-up track and lead single ‘Stone Men’ is by far one of the best tracks presented. The acoustic guitar twiddles away as a slick drum/bass combination carries forward the song. For much of the album, choruses are the highlights of the album, progressing the steady beats into massive flows of noise, beautifully capturing every performance with an incredibly elegant touch. Every song never overwhelms or overreaches; every key struck and guitar string plucked has a purpose, and the album is certainly better for it.
A surprising aspect of ‘Five’ is how incredibly robust the album continues to be track after track. The reverb that is soaked into every track builds this incredible world around the listener, and it’s so incredibly easy to get lost in it all. ‘Spacechild’, ‘Weightless’, and ‘Know Your History’ all provide fantastic landscapes to escape into, but never tire or seem samey. The band’s ability to create a perfect blend of indie rock with heavy electronic elements is immaculate. And even when the band go more indie-esque on ‘Coraline’ and ‘What Is Impossible’, the songs are so infectiously fun, with their groovy bass lines and up and down guitars, don’t be surprised if you start dancing in your chair.
And even as the back-end of the album arrives, Dappled Cities still have a few tricks up their sleeve. The bass-heavy ‘Bad Feeling’ is a highlight, the vocals sung with such finesse that once the chorus comes around, you’re ready to belt out the lyrics with the band. The bass makes another fantastic appearance on ‘That Sound’, but the vocals lead the charge, providing a fantastic change of pace as drums let loose throughout the track. And as the reverb-soaked closer ‘Driving Home at Night Alone’ plods along, providing the best vocal performance of the album, you just want to go back and go through it again.
Everything that encompasses great indie and electronic is packaged so meticulously within ‘Five’ that nothing else will ever feel the same. Painting themselves a new landscape to work with, Dappled Cities create something so incredibly their own, it’s hard at times to remain grounded. Every guitar line, vocal delivery, and key hit is so incredibly thought-out, that nothing feels peculiar or misplaced. The production of every track is so clean and engrossing, drawing the listener into this world ‘Five’ has created. So sit back, close your eyes, and take in possibly one of the best indie albums of the year.