I knew about a minute into the recent release Black Dress by Dress Black that I was going to be a big fan. The four- piece comprised of Brendan James Johnson (guitar/vocals), Stephane Garneau-Monten (guitar/vocals), Colin Mercer (bass) and Justin Ross (drums) play fun, loose dance-based indie pop that can draw comparisons to Phoenix and Foster The People and to a lesser extent Franz Ferdinand.
The first thing that stuck out to me was the vocals. They are sung at a relatively high octave compared to most and they are a blast to listen to on a number of levels. I enjoyed the general style and how they were delivered but were the vocal melodies something my ears would enjoy? I can answer with a resounding yes. The lyrics are original as well, which in the end creates an impactful experience.
The first song “Money” gets the energy moving in the right direction. It starts with a bass line and a vocal melody that is downright infectious. A guitar line composed of root notes makes itself known and not before to long the band is in full swing. The general groove just makes you want to bust a move even if the guitar solo sounded like it belonged in a hard rock song. The end of the song is especially effective as the multiple members of the band sing, “whose gonna take my money at the end of the night.”
“Black Dress” in my opinion was the highlight of the three. They don't waste much time getting into a dance groove. The vocal melody is somehow more infectious than the one in the first song. I was also enjoying the clean lead guitar lines that really gave it that dance-y Phoenix type feel. Once the handclaps enter towards the end of the song it had my vote for most single-worthy song on the EP. “When You Gonna Love Me” is a solid song but vocally it didn't feel as strong as the other two. It mostly consisted of the band repeating the line “When you gonna love me” in different ways. That being said it’s still an enjoyable song and rocks out pretty hard.
This is the debut release for the band and it has very little missteps. I love the band’s energy and vibe. Keep your eyes on this one cause I sense better things to come.
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