Latest from Art D’ecco, Dragon Inn 3, Teleman worth a spin
Art D’ecco — ‘Trespasses’
THE GOOD: Glam-rocker Art D’Ecco comes back with a confident second record.
THE BAD: No issues.
THE NITTY GRITTY: Hailing from the Pacific islands off the coast of British Columbia, “Trespasses” may as well be from Berlin circa 1976 or London five years prior to that. D’Ecco has nailed down prime ’70s Bowie and T-Rex, but there’s so much more here than those usual go-to influences.
The guy doesn’t shy away from echoes of more pop-orientated acts from the sub-genre, people like the Sweet and Sparks. Sure, “Trespasses” has its cryptic, prog-leaning moments, such as epic closer “The Hunted.” However, most of the record is big on androgynous, danceable, New Wave ditties such as “Joy” and “Nobody’s Home.”
D’Ecco conceived the album at his grandmother’s cottage while helping her cope with Alzheimer’s disease. But there’s nothing quaint or small town about these sounds. “Trespasses” is BIG on wobbly synths, razor-sharp guitars, thick back beats and a slightly sleazy urban vibe. What fun.
BUY IT?: Yes.
Dragon Inn 3 — ‘Double Line’
THE GOOD: A Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin side project actually turns out a pretty decent synth-pop record.
THE BAD: “Double Line” barely clocks in at 30 minutes, but that just leaves you wanting more.
THE NITTY GRITTY: SSLYBY leader Philip Dickey recruited both his sister, Sharon Bowie, and his wife, Grace Bentley, for vocal and songwriting duties, and they all put together the record in on-again, off-again fashion over the past five years. The end result is a super-simple, highly infectious, feel-good mix of early Human League and prime Book of Love. It makes for an ’80s throwback that sounds amazingly fresh.
Highlights include the swirling and romantic “Juliet”; the pulsating, robotic “Club Sauce”; and catchy (and over far-too-quickly) “Double Line Theme.” It’s ALL good though. Hopefully this won’t be it for Dragon Inn 3. Right now, the trio seems more “recording project” than proper band, but additional output from them wouldn’t be a bad thing. The album’s formula certainly is worth revisiting.
BUY IT?: Sure.
Teleman — ‘Family of Aliens’
THE GOOD: British indie pop band Teleman comes back with its third.
THE BAD: Some lesser tracks aside, I have no complaints.
THE NITTY GRITTY: The band takes its name (sort of) from Baroque composer Georg Philipp Telemann, who wrote melodies so insanely catchy that he gave the more famous Bach a run for his money almost every time. I guess that’s appropriate.
Combining synthpop, ’80s new romantic, ’90s New Order and a hint of modern indie (there ARE guitars on this record too), Teleman delivers a breezy, seamless set with just the right amount of substance to keep the songs from simply floating away.
“Cactus” rides a gentle funk. “Song for a Seagull” and “Sea of Wine” wrap up the listener in the most delicate, sweetest ear candy. “Always Dreaming” is slightly more unpredictable, recalling the progressive echoes of a group such as Field Music. The robotic “Submarine Life” resembles a dreamier take on Daft Punk. It’s a warm blend that rarely disappoints.
BUY IT?: Sure.