Chicago Bowls (reissue)

Written by: PP on 10/06/2013 23:25:59

I don't normally waste time on reissues because there's just so much awesome new material around all the time to bother looking back at releases. But here's one that simply can't be missed for the sake of consistency in our archives, because the way that the scene have embraced Dikembe with open arms reminds me of the implausibly emotional reaction when people first discovered Moneen. It's seldom to hear a band so original, yet one that feels so familiar at the same time, one that both sounds and feels like you've known them forever, even when you're listening to the songs for the first time. That's the effect that four-track "Chicago Bowls" has had on people across the scenes since its original release in 2011, and a key reason why it has been remastered and re-issued by Tiny Engines two years later.

Basically, it's only four songs, but it's four songs of absolute brilliance within the genre. Speaking of which, it's difficult to establish exactly where Dikembe are sitting, because their songs are somewhere right in between indie, emo, and punk, liberally borrowing from each style to arrive at something I'll just label as Midwestern emo for the lack of a better term. It's introspective and thoughtful, but sung with the passion of an awkward, ignored teenager, yet with the power and explosiveness of a punk band stuck in an indie band's format. Just consider EP opener "Scottie Spliffen" and its down-to-earth lyrics about nothing in particular:

I'm no good with maps / I've no sense of direction / And I can't write anything without autocorrection / I just can't keep up with this curriculum / I wish I could learn in my sleep / I've got a problem with problems / I'm not punctual / I get lost in context and sentence construction / I've never said this to anyone before / I've never said it out loud

This is a characteristic carrying across the whole EP and the concept of Dikembe: these are stream-of-consciousness type of songs that are original because of the way they resonate with any sidelined young kid struggling to find his/her place in the world and the society around. Many of the songs are therefore almost poetic in their simplicity and ability to convey the conflicted mind of a person confused with their own existence and the meaning of life, without dwelling too much on the big questions simply because for the time being, those questions don't mean anything at all. It's a fantastic commentary on living life as an outsider, even if unintentionally so, and it's complemented with incredible, original-emo style melodies that Moneen would be proud to call their own.

Download: Scottie Spliffen, Luc Bongley, Michael Jordank, Tony Kukush
For the fans of: Moneen, Wavelets, Dads, Snowing, Grade, Texas Is The Reason
Listen: Facebook

Release date 28.05.2013
(original release: 2011)
Tiny Engines

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