Dappled Cities Granddance

[Dangerbird; 2007]

Styles: indie rock, indie pop
Others: The Arcade Fire, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, The Sleepy Jackson

Already quite the success in their Australian homeland, Dappled Cities (shortened from Dappled Cities Fly for simplicity's sake -- makes perfect sense, right?) offer indie pop aspiring for the epic sweep of such neo-psychedelians as The Flaming Lips and Mercury Rev. All the ingredients are here for something transcendent, but their sonic balloon floats too closely to the ground. What keeps them from achieving those chemically enhanced heights is a sobreity that trumps the sense of abandon necessary for any full lift off.

The hindrance is made perfectly clear in the moments when the band lets loose. "Holy Chord" is an excellent opener, with its slow and magical build from pseudo-mystical meditation of ride cymbal, strummed guitar, and lovely falsetto vocals to a charging, uplifting rock song. "Vision Bell" may well be the finest track, with synth accoutrements providing a balance of dreaminess and steadfastness, turning what could have been a routine song into something truly sublime.

The title track and "Battlewon" both have a similar aesthetic, the kind the rest of the album is in need of. What's frustrating is that you can hear the hints of grandeur in every track, and you just keep wanting the band to push everything a little further. That Dappled Cities can create that sort of anticipation is evidence of their skill, and one can only hope that subsequent releases will see these underdeveloped tendencies come into full bloom. Although I'm no advocate of reckless behavior, possibly a little experimentation with psychoactive substances before the next recording sessions might be in order?

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