If you’ve ever seen the documentary or read a biography or just heard the mere passing around of the same old tales of famous rock bands on the verge of unhinging then you know if you’ve heard one story you’ve heard them all. It’s either someone’s too fucked up all the time to go on stage, or someone’s sleeping with someone else’s wife, or someone is floating face down in a swimming pool. But anyway that part usually comes at the end of the bio. But go back to the beginning and have a gander at a group of youngsters smiling and playing their songs, just having a good time.
I mean in no way to suggest a corrosive and watery end for any of the four members of Dakota Jones. It was only that the Brooklyn based soulful, blues infused R&B quartet began to make music together because it was “fun.” They continued to make music together because they were enjoying making it. Music is perhaps the only art form that one can refer to as “fun” to make. I assure you writing isn’t “fun” and I can only assume painting to be a snooze fest. And you’ll feel and hear what I mean from the very opening chords of Dakota Jones’ three-song EP Pt. 1.
Pt. 1 opens with “Hear Me Now.” a slow and slick snakelike bass groove coupled with a dreamy blues riff and drums that keep time and make time to break out and show off their chops. Then we are treated to the sweet and soulful vocals of leading lady Tristan Carter-Jones. Her range here is exquisite moving from bluesy baritone to a Thom Yorke falsetto with a hummingbird’s precision. Next the confessional “Hands Tied” opens mildly and clean but as it moves along it slowly builds into an aesthetically ear-pleasing piece of rock n’ roll.
Dakota Jones uses this same formula on the closer “Leave Me Alone” but it is even darker, more rocking and the most realized song on Pt 1. Here everything that has been building up and hinted at both musically and in Carter-Jones’ powerfully dark vocals finally comes to a head. It is a musical fugue of rippling bass and guitar and cracks of cymbals crashing with Carter-Jones repeating “I’m fine, I’m fine / I’m fine, I’m fine,” a mantra we tell ourselves which always means just the opposite.
Despite its only being three songs long Pt. 1 has all the makings of a longer work. It explores the workings of blues and R&B and rock on each of its three songs, yet the band never fall victim to sounding repetitive. It’s a winning combination between band and vocalist that makes this possible. Given Pt. 1’s title I can only assume there will be more parts to follow. I am already greedily awaiting their arrival.
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