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Album Review: Dylan Sires & Neighbors

Album Review:  Dylan Sires & Neighbors
Author review
Musicianship
90%90%90%
4.5
Vocals
80%80%80%
4.0
Lyrics
80%80%80%
4.0
Production
70%70%70%
3.5
Originality
70%70%70%
3.5
Reviewer Bias
80%80%80%
4.0
Average 78%

 
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Album Review: Dylan Sires & Neighbors
No One / Someone

The explosion of summer festivals in the wake of the success of the Lollapaloozas of the world has given quite a bit of exposure to lesser known bands. Sure, at the bigger festivals, these “Lesser Known” bands are only lesser known to those that are only there for Mumford & Sons, but the festivals in smaller markets (Like Des Moines’s 80/35) can provide an outlet for local bands that would otherwise be relegated to moldy basements and dingy, under-attended clubs. Some of these bands that fill out the early hours on the side stages will persevere and make their way to the main stage (Like our friends in Christopher the Conquered), but sadly, most will have a year or two in the sun and move onto life as a civilian, unwilling or unable to make anything past that first recording. Despite not having yet made that 80/35 Main Stage, Dylan Sires & Neighbors have already proven the recording block is not an issue. In the past year, they’ve released two LPs with a third coming soon.

In many ways, No One and Someone are perfect albums for those mid-summer afternoons spent boiling in a random field or side-street in Middle America. The twenty-four tracks between the two albums are full of bright indie-pop jangle not entirely unlike The Dirty Projectors without the brain trauma. Sires’ voice frequently feels like a falsetto floating around the proceedings in a haze of reverb while all manner of instruments from guitars to piano and back again craft impeccable melodies. The trio also has mastered the art of the three part harmony, giving each song an added level of songcraft that most pop-rock confectioners seem to forget. Dylan Sires & Neighbors bring an easy-going, island flavor to the proceedings, and it’s very difficult to not fall under the sway of the good vibes being spent forth over the course of these two albums.

And yet, there’s something about No One and Someone that keep me from fully recommending them. For better or worse, Dylan Sires & Neighbors lock into those shimmery, summery vibe and rarely deviate. There’s a few moments where splinter off into gentle acoustics or, most impressively, into brassy Vaudevillian high stepping in “We Are in This Together”, but for the most part, the breezy grooves are the bedrock on which Dylan Sires & Neighbors build their sound. They’ve gotten that sound down to a science and perform everything as well as could possibly be expected, and as the Someone progress, the band takes more and more risks with their sound. But, for too much of No One, the band seems content to stick to the one speed that they know will get them where they need to go. The lack of a dynamic between the songs is a detriment, and at times, the tracks blur together on No One.

Even though I have some problems with No One, Someone shows the band moving in the correct direction. The hooks are stronger (See: Those “oh-oh-oh”s on “Downtown Lounge”), the instrumentation gets even more varied than it already was, and most importantly, the lyrics feel more personal and more heartfelt. If you’re a fan of sun-bleached indie-jangle, you will feel right at home amongst the spectacular three-part harmonies and the delicate interplay between the cavalcade of instruments. As someone who is not as naturally inclined towards such sounds, I have a few issues with the lack of diversity seen in parts of the album, but there’s more than enough reason to believe that the band is still growing into themselves. With the trajectory that Dylan Sires & Neighbors are on, I have plenty of hope that the upcoming Everyone will be their crowning achievement.

Grades:

No One: C
Some One: B

Combined: B-


Tracklisting

No One

1. Royal Green
2. No One
3. In My Neighborhood
4. Save My Life
5. Catherine, Diane, Michelle
6. Messenger
7. Hold Me
8. Two Bad Brothers
9. Night Time
10. Second Man
11. Pictures of You
12. One Shot
13. You Will

Someone

1. Good Ol' Boy
2. Roses
3. Someone Knows
4. We Are In This Together
5. It's Love
6. Alone
7. Member of the Wedding
8. Persona Non Grata
9. Downtown Lounge
10. Understanding
11. Someone to Love You
Submitted by Jeremy
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