The Dandelion War

Geometries And Orchids

Written by: TL on 09/05/2011 21:43:35

Before resuming my studies tonight, I must trespass once more into what is normally DR's territory, in order to give a review to "Geometries And Orchids", an album that I presume is the debut LP of Oakland based five piece The Dandelion War. A band to whom I feel I owe an apology, given how they actually sent along this album only shortly after I gave them notice in my review of the recentmost Emo Diaries compilation. I can only say in my defense, that the band's genre is not one I normally feel perfectly at home in, and hence it has required time for me to soak up what the band seems to be about.

Despite my somewhat limited familiarity with the various shades of post-rock, I dare say that The Dandelion War, on one hand at least, appears a fairly typical band of the style. You've got your progressive song-structures, which gradually increase in layering, as guitars, glockenspiel, piano and ambient effects intertwine in some very atmospheric harmonies. Fortunately however, the band also deviates from the standard fare in two very noticeable ways:

Firstly, their sound is complimented by an expert vocalist in Larry Fernandez, who seamlessly let's notes dance off both his chest and head voice, often sounding like a classical singer, except for the apparent passion with which he coats many a note. Secondly, TDW are not a band to waste much time or be very longwinded, and this is probably my favourite feature of theirs: These guys seem to have a very fine-tuned sense for letting their songs progress at exactly the time the listener is ready for them to take the next step, and hence the immersive soundscape is kept almost constantly varied and engaging.

The most immediately memorable song on the record is the mellow "Jailbird", in which the vocalist really gets to show of some strikingly sensitive high notes. Yet other songs like "Where The Wind Blows" and the closing "South, Like The Summer" also feature truly evocative moments, and a track like "Kahlo" also stands out with its lyrics sung in.. I'm going to guess it's Spanish, but honestly, I'm not sure? Either way, those are just a few stand out things off the top of my head, but really, TDW have actually managed to litter captivating moments quite consistently over the record as a whole.

The band claims to be inspired by the likes of Sigur Rós, Explosions In The Sky and This Will Destroy You, and while all of these are audible, some fans of the latter two might have trouble accepting the prominent presence of vocals, given their being used to instrumental music. Personally however, I will never object to a good vocalist, and Fernandez certainly is one, and while the band as a whole might still have some steps to climb before their cinematic sound is as impressive as those of their influences, I don't see the singer hampering them in any way. In fact, I think the way him and the instrumentalists compliment each other, may just be what makes TDW appear a band of their own, just as it makes this debut album of theirs a thoroughly enjoyable one:


Download: Jailbird; Where The Wind Blows; South, Like The Summer; Sui Generis
For The Fans Of: Sigur Rós, Explosions In The Sky, This Will Destroy You, Mono

Release Date 24.08.2010

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