Complexity isn't usually associated with pop music. A genre filled with words like "singable", "catchy" and "pleasant" is usually reserved for the easily digestible, but ultimately less filling foods... the snack bands filling up your radio aisle, or collecting dust on the shelves in your cabinets. Of course, exceptions to this rule include shopping in the right neighborhood, and picking the right packaging and ingredients&mdash the odd, unknown, and exceptional products&mdash that surprise, bewilder and satisfy. Brooklyn definitely has a few of these gems, but they are few and far between. Dinosaur Feathers pretty much writes the book on taking sticky music and slapping on as much harmony, progression, and lyrical turbulence as possible. The bubbly, half beach-soaked, half introspective hybrid sound that saturates Fantasy Memorial
is as literal as possible; equal parts tributary and imaginative..
Dinosaur Feathers uses a drum machine, which is generally considered amateur (and often is pretty stale). Considering the amount of revered bands which utilize electronic programming onstage for background vocals, synthetic fills, and other aspects, this particular detail should be taken with a grain of salt. Plus the programming, both on stage and especially in the studio, is just as multi-layered as the band's melodies.
And those melodies are top notch. Every song explores a three part harmony at some point, another detail that in some instances is overkill, but with Dinosaur Feathers just feels like a sense of identity and influence. "Family Waves" is basically ridiculous in the use some of its recurring melodic material, but it's so satisfying to hear it all come together. You could essentially sing any of the lines ("pull us together", "on your own", "family waves are coming") almost anywhere in the song, and the ubiquitous nature of such catchy riffage means serious stuck-in-your-head situations.
And they do this weaving of parts over and over, track after track. It all sounds so effortless...the natural progression of each overlay, the parts intertwining and matching chord changes, it's all technical babble to explain but simple to enjoy. It's the Wizard pulling the strings, but much less nefarious... all you need to do is sit back and listen. Isn't it nice to not have to work to enjoy something? The complexity of the songs is mapped out in living color, and easy to read without going too deep. Whereas many of the scenes favorite acts are only engaging after multiple listens or digging, Dinosaur Feathers has created an album full of smart, engaging tunes that immediately pop and stick.
I'm sure everyone is talking about tropical influences, or the worldly nature of Dinosaur Feather's pop synthesis, so I'll spare you. Other levels are there if you look for them. "Family Waves" is sprightly and fun, but the subject matter&mdash lost relationships and children&mdash is serious stuff. I'm still not sure what "I Ni Sogoma" means, but you can bet I've been chanting it down the street. The New Yorker asked "Why did Dinosaur Feathers write a song about Vendela Vida", and it's a valid question if you're trying to decipher the poetry behind Fantasy Memorial
. But I'd argue that like many of their ideas, she is just as enjoyable as a mysterious entity. "Family Wave" doesn't mean a day at the beach... but it sure does sound like it. -joe puglisi
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MP3:"Vendela Vida" - Fantasy Memorial
Dinosaur Feathers on Myspace