The Deathray Davies
Midnight At the Black Nail Polish Factory

Glurp (2003) Matt W.

The Deathray Davies – Midnight At the Black Nail Polish Factory cover artwork
The Deathray Davies – Midnight At the Black Nail Polish Factory — Glurp, 2003

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 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 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 / 10Matt W. • March 12, 2004

The Deathray Davies – Midnight At the Black Nail Polish Factory cover artwork
The Deathray Davies – Midnight At the Black Nail Polish Factory — Glurp, 2003

Recently-posted album reviews

Proud Parents

At Home With
Independent (2021)

At Home With Proud Parents caught me a little off guard, right from the start. While the debut showcased a variety of influences, this one is even more toned back and chill, in contrast to some members’ other work with The Hussy. The opening track on this sophomore album, “Cellophane” is more of a folk-punk or cowpunk vibe with some warbled vocals, an acoustic … Read more

Hangman’s Hymnal

Small News Travels Fast in a Bad Town
Snappy Little Numbers (2020)

Hangman’s Hymnal is a nice addition to the Snappy Little Numbers roster and every bit as archaic as the title suggests. With a Wild West vibe pervading the songs, they manage to evoke mental images of them holding court in a saloon to perform their seasoned murder folk to a bunch of buzzed delinquents as part of a debaucherous hootenanny … Read more

Jiffy Marx

She’s My Witch / Warning Sign
Snappy Little Numbers (2020)

Jiffy Marx' She’s My Witch / Warning Sign 7″ does not only look like a 45er from the late seventies, but sonically delivers exactly that, i.e. two snappy lil’ pop punk numbers with the band firing on all cylinders. A snappy, fun 7” recorded in a bit more than a day, and sonically an homage and celebration the jangly pop punk … Read more