Dinah Wants Religion

Dinah Wants Religion

Written by: TL on 22/08/2011 22:54:28

While listening to and reading up on the band Dinah Wants Religion, for the purpose of the review of their recently released self-titled debut LP, the first thing that strikes me is that, seeing as these guys are from Sweden, maybe they've looked at fellow Swedes Mando Diao for inspiration. Certainly, their record seems to be similarly influenced by music from no later than the 70s, dominated by vocal harmonies that make me think of The Beach Boys and mellotron melodies that have a floating acid-trip-ish sound that makes me think of some of the stranger The Doors songs.

This only really goes to expose that my musical frame of reference is strongest in the present, and gets progressively weaker as we move back in time however, because as it turns out, Dinah Wants Religion's main influence is, according to their promotional material, the work of reknowned 60s producer Phil Spector. If you're like me however, and that you have to admit that the name doesn't ring any bells in terms of sound, those three bands I already mentioned are the best clues as to what Dinah Wants Religion sounds like here though.

And maybe it's my rather shallow level of appreciation for anything from the 60s and earlier that is to blame, when I have to say that I have a hard time seeing "Dinah Wants Religion" take its namesake anywhere other than into a quite solid position in some sort of niche for people who like oldies. Their songs are actually well enough written, recognizable as they generally are even after a few listens, but I think most contemporary listeners will still hit two obstacles when it comes to enjoying them:

One is the mellotron (which is an ancestor to todays keyboards and synthesizers, in case you didn't know), which completely overpowers the presence of guitar on by far the majority of the album, solidifying the feeling that the album sounds 'old' rather than 'rockin'. The other is the fact that the vocals here, while technically on tune and everything, are extremely bland, to the point where the only nice thing I can say about them is that they too contribute to the feeling that the record sounds like radio waves that somehow time travelled in from fifty years ago.

The throwback sound only works as a point of interest for about three or four tracks however, as the mind becomes accustomed to it by then, and then goes looking for further points of merit. My own mind doesn't find any, as the songs themselves, no matter how recognizable, seem powerless and uninteresting, and effectively the record soon becomes a samey blur that it's really hard to continually pay attention to. The promotional material elusively refers to the band as a 'critically praised endeavour', but judging from this record, I find it easier to afford them criticism than praise, seeing as it feels overall like an exercize in style, rather than an album of music that actually wants to try something new, or connect emotively with an audience.

Download: Closer To The Moon
For The Fans Of: Mando Diao, The Doors, old music
Listen: myspace.com/dinahwantsreligion

Release Date 31.05.2011
A Child's guide To Good And Evil

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