Is not common for me to listen to "happy" music (mostly because most happy music out there is kind of stupid, not as complex as the music that depressive introspective artists like Radiohead, Nirvana or Portishead create) but lately I have been hooked up to a new band called De Novo Dahl that has a very interesting sound and I dare to say, just released the best new album I have heard in all 2008 so far, "Move Every Muscle, Make Every Sound".
Some people say they sound like The Flaming Lips or Super Furry Animals but I think they have a very unique fresh sound of their own. I first heard this band last year when they where opening for Hot Hot Heat at Vancouver's Commodore and I think they stole the show. Their concept of retro "chessy" coordinated suits works really well, it is nice to see a band that actually puts some effort into the visual aspect for a change. The mix of male and female voices in every song between the parts that Joel J. Dahl and Serai Zaffiro sing is done really cool, they absolutely complete each other. Serai voice changes a lot from song to song, sometimes just doing disco type back vocals, sometimes kind of shouting back vocals and sometimes doing more lead like parts. The songs have a really rich sound, is not like those bands that you listen to one song and you already know how the whole set will be like, they add interesting elements to every song.
My favorite songs are Be Your Man, Wishful Thinking, Subject of the Kill, Sky is Falling, Heartbreaker and Shout (although I loved all the songs). If I remember correctly I think they started the set with Be Your Man, which sounds awesome on the studio version. This is a very high energy song that, I have to admit, reminds me of the Super Furry Animals, but was an excellent pick for the live set since everybody started dancing like crazy. Wishful Thinking is a little less rocker and more pop, but this is not a bad thing, they create a really melancholic atmosphere in this song with the synths (played by Moose Hungate) and Serai's voice which is like an angel singing thanks to the studio magic. Subject of the Kill has a killer bass line played by Keith Lowen. Sky is Falling is another one I can remember from the live set, and I think the best way to describe it is like the pipettes on drugs, they even had a little coordinated dance moves during the sticky chorus where there's a little bit of silence gaps between each word they sing("this-is-such-a-complicated-si-tu-a-tion!). Finally Shout and Heartbreaker are the songs with which the album begins and the ones that represent the Novo Dahl concept the best. Shout is an excellent pick as first single. I think Heartbreaker is a newer song cause I don't remember that one from the live set and when I first heard it in the album I was a shocked of how good it is and I think should be picked as the second single definitely.
My only two complains are the name of the band and the first video. The name is so hard to pick up, not only is really hard to remember it but it's also hard to pronounce, damn it, I don't even know if I am saying it correctly, let alone I don't even know what it means (although I assume the lead vocal is a little self centered and loves his last name so he called the band, the new Dahl in some weird language or something). I guess I'm lucky to have a good memory else I wouldn't have followed up these guys who try to make it hard for people to be fans! lol. The video I have to admit that I have only watched the preview available on itunes, but it looks kind of amateurish for their level of quality, and specially since they seem to take a long time to plan the visual aspect of the band.
I hope De Novo Dahl popularity grows, it is refreshing to see good original bands and it would be great if all their hard effort into having a strong concept gets compensated with the perks of the music industry, fame and fortune :P