Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Digitata - II Daggers

Grade: A-
Download: You Best Believe Me

When I first heard Digitata's debut Sexually Transmitted Emotions a couple years ago, I wasn't sure what I was listening to. I'm not usually a stickler for categories, but finding one for Digitata turned into an addictive puzzle: was it dance-pop? Technopop? Or was it just good?

I settled on that last one, because in the end, "good" beats whatever crap genre you invent. Unlike labelmates Mel Gibson and the Pants, whose music is generally a self-indulgent mess, Digitata take beat-based confusion and turn it into something tangibly melodic. The band consists of Drew Christopherson on drums, Ryan Olson on assorted instruments, and Maggie Morrison on vocals and keys, and everyone sounds much more assured this time around. As good as Sexually Transmitted Emotions is, there's something hesitant about its approach. II Daggers comes at you head-on, wasting no time as it bursts into "Banging J.A." (that's "Jessica Alba").

The best tracks are the faster and peppier ones, and for this reason, "You Best Believe Me" is the disc's highlight. It's just dark enough to be intriguing, and has a steady enough rhythm to get your attention. Subsequent songs, such as the sweetly poppy "Diet Riot" and "Digitata 4Ever" reek of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, and that's a good thing. It's about time Minneapolis had its Karen O, and I don't mind going out on a limb to give Morrison the distinction.
(David Brusie)

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