11 August 2018
Dot Dash - Proto Retro
Welcome back Dot Dash, it's nice to have you back. Dot Dash (for those who have not been following this blog since 2015) are a Power Pop/Rock band from Washington DC. They reach out to me to review Earthquakes & Tidal Waves, following up with a review of Searchlights (you can read both via this link here). To be honest, I was starting to wonder if there was going to be a new record from these guys. They just started popping up in my shuffle mixes, so it seems like serendipity that they're back in my life. In the two years since I last encountered them, they've reduced to a three-piece. A change in personnel can sometimes lead to a change in sound and without further ado, let's look at this album.
The change in personnel has led to a change in tone, but not in a change of style. Dot Dash still specialises in Power Pop/Alternative Rock noise, but the distortion has been turned down a little. This has brought in a new melodic flavour to their sound and it seems to bring everything together. From the opening beat of "Unfair Weather", via the soaring "Triple Rainbow" and to the end of "Sun + Moon = Disguise", they bring punchy song after punchy song. In their slower moments such as the aforementioned "Tripple Rainbow", they have a delicate touch that makes this album a bit of a charmer. The jaunty opening to "Dead Letter Rays" is another example of how subtle Dot Dash can be, as it opens up into a beautiful track that will melt people's hearts. At thirty-two minutes long, this is an album that you can keep listening to, over and over again.
Proto Retro also focuses heavily on the retro sound of the band, so much so that it feels as if it could seamlessly fit into another era. This is not a criticism, just pointing out that their sound is unashamedly proud of their influences and more power to them for it. To be honest, if I had one thing I would liked to have heard on Proto Retro, I would have liked to have heard more than one song over three minutes in length. However, if I'm honest, it mightn't have worked with the overall tone of the record. I think their lighter sound works in their favour, moving the band in the right direction. And as much as I've enjoyed their earlier records, they seemed to have a darkness to them. This album is a brighter sound, one which I'm enjoying more with each subsequent listen. Proto Retro is a breath of sunshine with its tone, quick bursts of Power Pop and top quality songs.
8 out of ten - Oh, now you have my attention and maybe my time, money and heart
Top track - Unfair Weather
You can purchase Proto Retro on the Dot Dash Bandcamp page here.
You can purchase Proto Retro on Amazon here.
You can follow the activities of Dot Dash on Facebook here.
You can stream Proto Retro on Spotify here.
You can stream Proto Retro on Deezer here.
You can stream Proto Retro on Tidal here.
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