Well hello there Dinosoul, I am so glad we've crossed paths so I could have the opportunity to listen to your latest album Eleven. Dinosoul is following the path of dreamy indie rock. This happens to be a path I willfully travel down with very little incentive required. However Dinosoul does have very unique characteristics that kept them very fresh for me. To start, they maintain an emo darkness almost throughout the entire album with some limited exceptions. The rock part of their genre map I would say is actually center in their music and lets the music be grounded in organic sounds. However, they still manage to flex their synth and electronic muscles with ease. It's a solid combo of methods that were pieced together with a lot of love, care and attention to detail. I am not shocked these guys have been making the rounds playing alongside many of today's buzzed about indie acts.
A key plus to this album is the songwriting. Donny Donovan (guitar/vocals) and Carolyn Hilliard (keyboard/vocals) are the writers on all the songs. Whatever process or understanding these two have is a winning formula when it comes to lyrics. Deep metaphorical meanings are tucked away ever so carefully with more raw themes like nature and broad states of mind like vulnerability and loneliness. Even when the music was not my cup of tea, the lyrics are always something I can drink down. Donovan and Hilliard as vocalists are quite interesting. Their voices are often wispy and high. They engineer their vocal work to be distant and haunting, and for the most part it works. There were certain songs where in an attempt to be haunting, the high pitch came off as more grating. I find that these two work best as vocalists when they are indulging their gruffer instincts.
Musically the album starts off very strong and then there were a few hit or misses down the road. "4 AM" is a great track that starts the album off on a note of rebellious power. However there are tracks like "Ocean" that just felt a little unfinished and ended up dragging on more than engulfing me the way so many of the other tracks did. I found myself having an attachment to the last track, "It Never Goes Away." This particular track was built from the ground up in the studio. This song holds a special place for Donovan as this song is essentially a personal view of today's society on a whole. It's a beautifully dank song that incorporates a fantastic piano element that gave the song wings.
Not bad at all for a debut album. Lots of distinctive flavor and core voice was established. I love Dinosoul mostly for taking this album so seriously. It's not easy finding that signature thing that makes a group stand out. They also invested in excellent production and recording services. This album went through three separate hands and came out very professional and appropriate sounding. If you're looking to hear something on the darker side of indie rock, Eleven is your album. Give it a listen.
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