Music

Dent May: Do Things

Dent May trades in his ukulele for outdated synthesizers and drum machines on Do Things and completely loses importance.


Dent May

Do Things

Label: Paw Tracks
US Release Date: 2012-06-12
UK Release Date: 2012-06-12
Amazon
iTunes

Dent May & His Magnificent Ukulele crafted a pretty great summer soundtrack a few years back. While not everything worked, it was good enough to keep playing in the background during beach parties or long summer drives. There's still the same breezy carefree summer sound at the core of Do Things, except this time it’s so abused and overdressed that it can be a genuinely difficult record to listen to. Where the first record showed some promise and revealed a tendency to buckle to trends, Do Things completely erases the former and completely succumbs to the latter to an overwhelmingly dismaying effect.

At first, it seems like it might work on "Rent Money", which suggests May spent some quality time listening to Veckatimest between records. "Rent Money" on its own is actually a pretty great song and would make for a stellar single. It's put together artfully, has a memorable melody and, more than any other song on Do Things, captures the mood of his best previous works. Unfortunately, it sets a high point that's never close to being matched throughout the remaining nine tracks on Do Things, making each ensuing track more disappointing than the next.

For the majority of Do Things, May just sounds bored, which is a bad problem to have when you recorded everything. A lot of times certain aspects come off feeling forced or like May knew he was fulfilling some bizarre pre-requisite for a genre piece. There's virtually no moments of true invention to be found anywhere on this record, which is disappointing considering they often cropped up on May's debut. It's as if he traded whatever authenticity he may have had for artifice. More disappointingly, there's not really too many distinguishing marks to really separate these songs from each other. They all peddle the same psych-disco revival that Cherub nails perfectly to a much lesser effect.

Around the fourth track on Do Things is where the album starts to truly drag and it never rights itself, making it an absolute chore to get to the last track. Everything in the latter half of Do Things only exceeds the opening half in being bland. It also marks the point where the clichés just keep piling onto each other, from the horrendous synthesizer and slap bass in "Don't Wait Too Long" to the keyboard drums in "Parents". However, scattered at infuriatingly brief moments throughout these songs are good moments, like the chorus vocal melody to "Parents". It makes for an endlessly frustrating listen to hear May sound energized one second while latching onto something unique and worthwhile before transforming back into a dead product of trend in a matter of mere seconds.

Do Things, unsurprisingly, ends on a run of unimaginative songs that make it increasingly difficult to want to keep listening to it. It's an unfortunate album that will no doubt pander to a certain group of people but will likely leave everyone else cold. There's nothing here apart from the lead-off track that's worth a repeat listen. Dent May's destroyed most of his promise with a single swift blow that sees him tirelessly combining the worst of music's recent trends, from Bruce Hornsby synthesizers to unabashedly white funk. Quite easily one of the most cloying, soulless, and altogether unnecessary releases of the first half of 2012.

2

Music

Books

Film

Recent
Music

Alexander Wren's "The Earth Is Flat" Wryly Looks at Lost Love (premiere + interview)

Singer-songwriter Alexander Wren's "The Earth Is Flat" is a less a flat-earther's anthem and more a wry examination of heartache.

Music

Big Little Lions' "Distant Air" Is a Powerful Folk-Anthem (premiere)

Folk-pop's Big Little Lions create a powerful anthem with "Distant Air", a song full of sophisticated pop hooks, smart dynamics, and killer choruses.

Music

The Flat Five Invite You to "Look at the Birdy" (premiere)

Chicago's the Flat Five deliver an exciting new single that exemplifies what some have called "twisted sunshine vocal pop".

Music

Brian Bromberg Pays Tribute to Hendrix With "Jimi" (premiere + interview)

Bass giant Brian Bromberg revisits his 2012 tribute to Jimi Hendrix 50 years after his passing, and reflects on the impact Hendrix's music has had on generations.

Jedd Beaudoin
Music

Shirley Collins' ​'Heart's Ease'​ Affirms Her Musical Prowess

Shirley Collins' Heart's Ease makes it apparent these songs do not belong to her as they are ownerless. Collins is the conveyor of their power while ensuring the music maintains cultural importance.

9
Books

Ignorance, Fear, and Democracy in America

Anti-intellectualism in America is, sadly, older than the nation itself. A new collection of Richard Hofstadter's work from Library of America traces the history of ideas and cultural currents in American society and politics.

By the Book

Democratizing Our Data: A Manifesto (excerpt)

Just as big tech leads world in data for profit, the US government can produce data for the public good, sans the bureaucracy. This excerpt of Julia Lane's Democratizing Our Data: A Manifesto will whet your appetite for disruptive change in data management, which is critical for democracy's survival.

Julia Lane
Music

Mobley Laments the Evil of "James Crow" in the US

Austin's Mobley makes upbeat-sounding, soulful pop-rock songs with a political conscience, as on his latest single, "James Crow".

Music

Jordan Tice's "Bad Little Idea" Is a Satirical Spin on Dire Romance (premiere)

Hawktail's Jordan Tice impresses with his solo work on "Bad Little Idea", a folk rambler that blends bluesy undertones with satiric wit.

Music

Composer Ilan Eshkeri Discusses His Soundtrack for the 'Ghost of Tsushima' Game

Having composed for blockbuster films and ballet, Ilan Eshkeri discusses how powerful emotional narratives and the opportunity for creative freedom drew him to triple-A video game Ghost of Tsushima.

Film

What 'O Brother, Where Art Thou?' Gets Right (and Wrong) About America

Telling the tale of the cyclops through the lens of high and low culture, in O'Brother, Where Art Thou? the Coens hammer home a fatalistic criticism about the ways that commerce, violence, and cosmetic Christianity prevail in American society .

Film

Love and Cinema: The Ruinous Lives in Żuławski's L'important c'est d'aimer

Żuławski's world of hapless also-rans in L'important C'est D'aimer is surveyed with a clear and compassionate eye. He has never done anything in his anarchic world by the halves.

Books

On Bruce Springsteen's Music in Film and TV

Bruce Springsteen's music in film and television captured author Caroline Madden's imagination. She discuses her book, Springsteen as Soundtrack, and other things Springsteen in this interview.

Music

Alt-pop's merci, mercy Warns We May "Fall Apart"

Australian alt-pop singer-songwriter, merci, mercy shares a video for her catchy, sophisticated anthem, "Fall Apart".

Film

Tears in Rain: 'Blade Runner' and Philip K. Dick's Legacy in Film

Blade Runner, and the work of Philip K. Dick, continues to find its way into our cinemas and minds. How did the visions of a paranoid loner become the most relevant science fiction of our time?

Music

London Indie-Poppers the Motive Impress on "You" (premiere)

Southwest London's the Motive concoct catchy, indie-pop earworms with breezy melodies, jangly guitars, and hooky riffs, as on their latest single "You".

Books

Vigdis Hjorth's 'Long Live the Post Horn!' Breathes Life into Bureaucratic Anxiety

Vigdis Hjorth's Long Live the Post Horn! is a study in existential torpor that, happily, does not induce the same condition in the reader.

Music

Konqistador and HanHan Team for Darkwave Hip-Hop on "Visaya"

Detroit-based electronic/industrial outfit, Konqistador team with Toronto hip-hopper HanHan for "Visaya", a song that blends darkwave and rap into an incendiary combination.


Reviews
Collapse Expand Reviews



Features
Collapse Expand Features

PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 PopMatters.com. All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.