Dear And The Headlights

Small Steps, Heavy Hooves

Written by: TL on 31/03/2007 15:42:09

Writing a review to follow up the village-pillaging one Dan just posted yesterday is at least a scary task, and at best a challenging one. However, never being a guy to stay away from challenges, I will of course throw myself at the task of telling you about an act somewhat different to the one Dan described for you.

As the debut album of Arizona-based Dear And The Headlights "Small Steps, Heavy Hooves" will show you from the first track, we're dealing with an indie-rock outfit, and one with quite a consinderable amount of moments allowing you to associate them with a small army of other bands out there. The guitar/piano-driven songs float around casually in classic (classic not standard) poprock compositions, while acting as a base upon which frontman Ian Metzger displays his vocal repertoire, reminding me of Søren Huus from the quite similar Danish band Saybia, only his delivery comes of a bit more wild, hinting of Bear Vs Shark without ever closing in on the more post-hardcore approach they stand for.

"Oh No" opens with a chilled out atmosphere, emotional and borderline hysterical vocals, as well as a refrain that goes straight for your memory. "Sweet Talk" takes the tempo and volume up a notch and changes your associations from bands like Coldplay to bands like The Vines, with it's rackety garage feel. These are the two poles between which the album from now on will switch back and forth, with songs like "Happy In Love" standing out in the quiet end with a casual opening that'll make you think of John Mayer. Opposing this more deeper end of the bands' spectrum, are songs like the almost Keane-ish "Paper Bag" or the Dashboard-resembling "Run In Front", who both have lyrics and instrumentation as cleverly catchy as anything you'd hear on the radio these days. As a further example, check out encouraging piano opus "It's Getting Easy" and feel the conquering hysterical spark-in-the-eye joy of the prime example of the style this band builds its identity on.

Now one still has to be objectively critical, and regarding this album, that involves noticing and mentioning how nothing new is really brought to the table, and I'm sure the band doesn't mind me saying so, as it doesn't ever seem to be the intent of this record. Focus must have been exclusively on piecing together songs that are good in the oldfashioned no-nonsense way, from the mix of elements that some might write off as just another fusion of what's popular rock these days, while less negative listeners recoqnize how convincing their delivery feels. Truth be told there are a million billion bands out there similar to Dear And The Headlights, but what makes them special is that somehow you don't have the same problems with the bands credibility as you would have with bands who are, like for instance The Fray or Keane, just a little bit too obvious. If you have no problem with the softer side of rock, you should definetely treat yourself to "Small Steps, Heavy Hooves", but if you do then safely move on without looking back.


Download: It's Getting Easy, Paper Bag, Oh No, Sweet Talk
For the fans of: Saybia, Dashboard Confessional, The Arcade Fire, Keane
Listen: MySpace

Release Date 06.02.2007
Equal Vision
Provided by Target ApS

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