It's Still Pretty Terrible

Written by: DR on 10/02/2013 19:36:58

"It's Still Pretty Terrible" isn't exactly an album title to excite prospective listeners, but it does accurately reflect the state of mind of Dowsing's debut LP. Like many of the emo/indie revivalist bands of current who often opt for nonsensical song titles and album covers, the lyrics underneath paint the picture of someone overcoming a break up, are at times self-deprecating, but ultimately positive in their message. They're revealing, almost reading like journal entries and are, of course, emotional.

As you may have guessed from the fact that "It's Still Pretty Terrible" was released through the quintessential emo/indie label of the moment Count Your Lucky Stars, it plays closely to the 90s sound personified by the likes of The Get Up Kids and Weezer. This is simultaneously the record's greatest strength and biggest weakness. What some will see as faithful will be dated to others. If you fit into the former camp, you will not be able to deny the assurance with which Dowsing execute this style. Everything sounds very raw, like it has undergone little post-recording treatment; the musicianship is solid, typically comprised of twinkles and relatively simple chord progressions and rhythms to set the backdrop for the tuneful and easy to listen to vocals.

Fans of this style will certainly find plenty to enjoy in "It's Still Pretty Terrible". However, though undoubtedly decent, the record is often too casual, almost one-paced, to be considered as one of the better emo records of 2012. Truly memorable moments and songs only come when the band step out of their comfort zone to offer a different dynamic, a tempo change or second gear to their music, or to allow their emotions the better of them, resulting in strained, more cathartic vocals.

The best example of Dowsing stretching themselves comes in the three-song run of "Littoral", "Midwest Living" and "Up To Me". "Littoral" starts off with a quiet build up, and although the pace doesn't shift dramatically before the end, there are some impressive atmospheric, post-rock-ish textures utilized before the affecting 'crescendo'. "Midwest Living" follows a similar pattern as most other songs, with bouncy rhythms, calm vocals aplenty, and some impressive twinkly 'quiet' sections, but it's the a group-shouting close that adds a refreshing catharsis unlike other efforts. "Up To Me", too, utilizes screamed vocals juxtaposing the restrained vocals to good effect. These songs offer something different, and as a result are the most memorable songs on the album.

There is no denying that Dowsing are solid song-writers who certainly have a handle on the emo/indie genre and that fans of the scene will certainly take kindly to them, but the album overall blends together too much, offering only one run of songs that are likely to stick in your head, and generally lacks the impression that more established bands in the genre undoubtedly leave. Overall, it's a listen that will certainly please the Count Your Lucky Stars scene, but probably little else beyond that.


Download: Littoral, Midwest Living, Up To Me
For The Fans of: Tigers Jaw, The Get Up Kids
Listen: Bandcamp

Release Date 28.09.2012
Count Your Lucky Stars

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