Monday, February 19, 2007

So Many Dynamos - Flashlights

So Many Dynamos
Flashlights (Skrocki)
Grade: B+

Download: So Many Dynamos - "In Every Direction"

The first time I heard So Many Dynamos’ new record Flashlights, Ryan Wabash was shifting nervously on my couch trying to make himself comfortable.

“Remember, this is the unmastered version,” he assures me, again.

Norm, the drummer, is sitting with his legs crossed on the couch across from Ryan and I – he’s picking at his nails and air drumming. Griffin, the other guitar player with the boyish charm, is eating some macaroni and cheese with sliced up bits of tofu dogs that I found in my mother's fridge. I just pulled the hot pot off the stove as Ryan and I were ripping on Thunderbirds Are Now! Aaron Stovall, the singer and synth player, is up in my old bedroom already asleep.

I’m house sitting for my parents while they’re in Europe and, naturally, So Many Dynamos are spending the night.

So Many Dynamos’ first full-length album, When I Explode, was a gem of savvy pop, hidden in the guise of dueling guitars, thumping drums and chaotic arrangements. Flashlights is the same, but better.

Plagued with Dismemberment Plan comparisons for the past 40,000 years, Dynamos have yet to receive the critical acclaim they readily deserve – except for a very nice 7.8 provided by Pitchfork Media. Kudos. Yeah, I mean, so what if they're nerds, they write great songs.

Energetic as always, Flashlights expands on the standard Dynamos sound to incorporate horns, piano, large choral arrangements, and even a banjo.

Stepping into his own, Stovall is finding his voice. It's hard to be witty and not sound like an ass, lucky for us, Stovall has been able to crack the formula. Spinning line on top of line and laced with innuendo, there's never a dull moment. Not to mention that the guitars slay -- Wabash admitted to his attempts at ripping off Cinemechanica, which is not entirely true, Dynamos' riffs have always been killer, and dare I say, dynamic.

"In Every Direction" is my favorite beast off the disc. I am particularly fond of the line "Planes and trains and Auto-tuners" and the "Let me see that thong" melody line behind the chorus. This is by no means the catchiest song off Flashlights, which is saying something, but it definitely rocks.

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(Ian Anderson)

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