Music » Homespun

Troubadour Dali

Let's Make It Right
Euclid Records

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Troubadour Dali writes pretty good songs, but the psych-rock band is better at making albums. Its swirling sonic palette doesn't alter much from track to track — jangling British Invasion-era licks, fuzzy, buzzy bass lines and coolly arid vocal performances set the stage for nearly every song, and they often bleed into each other after a few listens. But the band's second LP, Let's Make It Right, hits the crest of an ever-growing wave on "The Prickly Fingers of Sante Muerte," the album's penultimate track. The song releases the cumulative tensions of the record by providing a micro view of what Troubadour Dali does best. Spare acoustic guitars and minimal percussion give way to a stacked guitar symphony and harmonically tangled vocals. A simple riff unfolds into something totemic. The slow-building narcotic begins to seep through your pores, and you wonder about the chemical reactions taking place in your brain and on the disc.

All of which is to say that Right is a step up from Troubadour Dali's fine-but-scattered debut. The sophomore LP streamlines the band's m.o.: pop-friendly shoegaze that never loses a song's melodic center of gravity. From the slap-back reverb and twangy guitars that opens the disc with "Pale Glow," the band proves its skill at setting a mood — one that is psychedelic without going too dark or too Day-Glo cheesy. Casey Bazzell places her sirenlike vocals above Ben Hinn's monochromatic, magnetic delivery, which becomes the calm in the eye of the storm, never giving ground to the swells and squalls going on around him. Bands like Ride, the Jesus & Mary Chain and the Dandy Warhols are all clear touchstones here, and one is apt to forgive a lack of invention in favor of nailing a genre's tone and effect.

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