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Dom

Sun Bronzed Greek Gods

(Astralwerks; US: 15 Feb 2011; UK: Import)

Worchester, MA’s Dom is, in some ways, an exciting new band to watch. They’re not interested in the whole lo-fi gauze—their songs on Sun Bronzed Greek Gods prefer a shimmering clarity—and they deliver refreshingly direct songs with catchy hooks and infectious choruses. On standout single “Living in America”, they sound capable of being one of the next great pop-rock acts. Its bright glow plays well against the humming distortion of “Bochica” or the layered guitars and breathy vocals of “Hunny”. It’s in these moments that we see the strength of Dom’s sound. When it focuses on singer Dom’s high keen and the echoing guitars, it’s an impressive mix. Unfortunately, there’s an unnecessary vein of anachronism—hearkening back to the keyboard-heavy ‘80s—that runs through many of these songs. Other tracks like “Jesus” and “Burn Bridges” feature the Casio way up high in the mix, and the riffs it lays down often sound reductive and kind of cheap. Even “Living in America” is partially undercut its heavy dose of keys. Dom certainly isn’t the only band around turning to the most questionable parts of music’s past, but just because they’re not alone doesn’t make it a less perplexing choice. It lends otherwise compelling pop songs an air of irony they don’t need, and makes a well-composed and well-recorded EP sound too thin in spots. More importantly, it plays against the band’s strengths, turning a promising debut into something uneven and often difficult to take seriously because, with its overly simple keys and new-wave winking, it doesn’t seem to take us seriously either.

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Matthew Fiander is a music critic for PopMatters and Prefix Magazine. He also writes fiction and his work has appeared in The Yalobusha Review. He received his M.F.A. in Creative Writing from UNC-Greensboro and currently teaches writing and literature at High Point University in High Point, NC. You can follow him on Twitter at @mattfiander.


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