Darediablo: Twenty Paces

[27 June 2005]

By Kevin Jagernauth

MUSICAL MEDICAL CHART

PATIENT NAME: Darediablo

HISTORY: Based out of New York, this instrumental rock trio is on its fifth release in as many years.

LAST VISIT: It’s been at least a year since I last saw Darediablo. At that time, they had come into my office with their CD Feeding Frenzy. It was an honest attempt at instrumental rock, which in my opinion, had been too little, too late. The group’s lineup was intriguing, as they ditched a bass player for a keyboardist. Yet, despite this angle, the group’s songs were propelled by a tiresome predictability and bland compositions that had me yearning for someone—anyone—to step behind a microphone and give these songs some life. Its not that instrumental rock needs to brain twisting, but if you’re going to do it straight-up, at least have the audacity to take a few left turns here and there.

THIS VISIT: The trio has returned to my office with another new CD in their hands, the cowboy-themed Twenty Paces. With the cover boasting a dirt-encrusted cowboy boot, it’s clear this time the Darediablo boys are ready to—and this is a medical term—kick ass. The first thing that’s noticeable upon spinning the disc is the thick, full production by Scott Mann and the group. Feeding Frenzy was marred by an Albini-esque approach that frankly didn’t do the group any justice. Mann and Darediablo thankfully bring everything to the fore, creating an immediately welcoming listen, unlike the abrasive introduction that marked Feeding Frenzy.

DIAGNOSIS: The boys appear to be healthy, and their energy certainly hasn’t flagged since the last time I saw them. Twenty Paces reminded me of my college days as a young undergraduate, looking forward to becoming a doctor, while keeping a watchful eye on my female counterparts (one of whom would later become my wife!). It was the ‘70s then - America was in Vietnam, disco was leading the night life, and there was nothing I liked better than hitting the road in my van, my long hair blowing in the wind with Steve Miller on the radio. But I’m digressing… Darediablo revere ‘70s rock, and Twenty Paces is a generous dose of sun-cooked, booty shaking riffs that falls somewhere between ZZ Top and Funkadelic. Yet, for all the groin-gyrating tunes, I’ll be damned if I remember any of them. Other than the lead title track—also the longest song on the disc—which still has its pulsating organ running circles in my brain, none of the shorter tracks that followed have retained themselves in my memory. While their riffing and delivery is competent—certainly more competent that my college era, mystical Doors-style group Indian Vanilla—it puts me more in the mood to listen to my old records than anything else.

PRESCRIPTION: It’s sad to say, but Darediablo will forever be dogged and surpassed by their influences. I like these kids, I really do. They’re young, they’re eager and from a medical standpoint, they are certainly more fun to diagnose than that pop-punk crap that seems to come into my office everyday. Hell, even my kids are listening to that garbage. What do they know about punk rock?! In my day, punk rock was the Clash and the Sex Pistols. But God forbid I should put that on in the house. The kids yell at me to turn off that “old fogey” music. Sigh. What is it with this generation… oops sorry, I’m rambling again. Darediablo are eager to impress but can seem to make any innovations past their own record collections. I’ll be happy to keep checking in on these boys, but they would be well advised to take their time with the next album and give more attention to each song, giving them the space to expand and grow, that will hopefully, let them mark it with a style all their own.

Published at: http://www.popmatters.com/pm/review/darediablo-twenty/