[17 September 2007]
The Dilettantes are a band whose rock and roll ideal is often expressed in the language of Byrds-ian guitar jangle, driving drumbeats and psychedelic pop landscapes. Led in part by Joel Gion of The Brian Jonestown Massacre, the Bay Area band revels in indulging their retro influences and with their debut LP, confidently present twelve tracks full of enthusiasm. Tracks like the soaring “Don’t You Ever Fall” and “Ready to Go” showcase the band’s ability to transmit the spirit of rock from days gone by with skill and aplomb. At other moments on the record, however, drowsy vocal deliveries seem out of step with the group’s inspired instrumental backing and several cuts suffer from a sense of mediocrity, with the quality of the song not quite matching the band’s energy or excitement for it. “Marzipan” and the far too lengthy “Never Go Without” fall under such a category. The Dilettantes have the chops and the spirit to be more than just one of many ‘60s-influenced modern rock ensembles; once they consistently produce original material worthy of their abilities, the band has the potential to achieve stardom.