This Dallas based band made their own bed and now they have to lie in it. Their press releases and website state that their latest effort Midnight at the Black Nail Polish Factory sounds like: "The Pixies at their tightest and The Beach Boys at their loosest." We interrupt this broadcast for a healthy and much deserved scoff. There might, and I use that "as loosely as The Beach Boys," be one song that even mildly touches on a surf rock influence on this record, and the pop sensibilities aren't really even close to either of the afformentioned band's brilliance.
Upon first listen the band (the primary musical vehicle of DRD's do-it-all guy John Dufilho) sounds like Nada Surf with more instrumentation and Superdrag, who they toured with, at their quietest. What the album is lacking is something that stands out...at all. There is no "Popular" or "Sucked Out", and that's not to say that those are cream of the crop pop songs, but at least they made you turn your head. There are indeed lukewarm pop sensibilities within, but Dufilho's attempt at using the same set of notes as a recurring theme throughout the album, whether they're on a piano, xylophone, or even guitar, tend to make you feel like you're listening to the same song over and over again. To clarify, it doesn't sound like a theme album, it sounds like the same song...save for "Dominique", the long lost cousin to Rod Stewart's "Maggie." The other mystery, besides the Rod Stewart thing, is how a band can take songs that seem like they have a good premise and half-assedly flesh them out in the manner they do. There are horns and mild walls of sound but the songs just have no sonic depth.
There is something about the album that does give it merit though. I don't know whether to call it bar room charm or background music, but that is the exact effect it has. It's cheery with some decent hooks and even some head bobbing appeal. They're not songs you'll ask to know the name of, because even the songs tend to stall out. Complacency is where the album really begins and ends. The band's venture into a "fuzzier" sound leaves you trapped in the midst of it. There's no one song that calls out for a bitchslap, there's nothing on the album that calls out for anything.
4.5 / 10
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