Music

Dwindle: Expectance/Acceptance

Jeremy Schneyer

Dwindle

Expectance/Acceptance

Label: Guilt Ridden Pop
Amazon
iTunes

For some reason, I feel a certain kinship with Minneapolis band Dwindle. I've been following them from the get-go, and always feel a little twinge when I hear about a new Dwindle release. Somehow it's comforting that despite little to no recognition, a band can keep trucking along, releasing excellent, quality records to a small but devoted fanbase.

Dwindle have been a band for almost ten years, and although they're hardly a household name, if there's any justice their perseverance will pay off sooner or later, and their brand of deliciously melodic, downcast indie pop will receive the accolades it deserves. The Expectance/Acceptance EP comes three years after the band's last full-length, the slightly disappointing Days Away (disappointing, that is, only to those who've heard their amazing second record, Recently Okay). While Days Away was hardly bad, and showcased the band's tremendous instrumental talents very well, it was a rather monochromatic, gray record that lacked the standout hooks that made Recently Okay so unforgettable. Thankfully, with the four new songs on Expectance/Acceptance, Dwindle seem to be returning to the slightly poppier sound that made Recently Okay such a resounding success. In fact, "Resigned", Expectance/Acceptance's opener, might be the most instantly catchy thing the band's ever done. Singer/guitarist Brooce repeats the phrase "After awhile you decide to resign / You talked about it, talked about it, don't know what you'll find" over an addictive guitar figure and typically snappy drumming, which then progresses into a heavy, gorgeously melodic chorus.

From there, it's on to "End of an Error", another snappy number featuring cleanly strummed guitars and more astounding drumming. Brooce ends this tune with a rather blunt self-assessment, which could be said to apply to the whole of indie rock in general: "We don't have anything to say / Get over it / Ideals fade". It's as if he's accepting the fact that there's nothing much that anyone can do to make something "truly orginal" anymore -- but that's OK, it's still a great lot of fun.

The four new songs on Expectance/Acceptance are as good an introduction to Dwindle's sound as could be imagined. Thoughtful, catchy, brooding, and extremely accomplished, these songs showcase an unknown band making music for the sake of making music, and doing an extraordinary job at it.

You might have noticed that throughout this review, I keep referring to "the four new songs" on Expectance/Acceptance. This is because the last two songs on the disc are two different versions of a song called "Normative Forecasting", which originally appeared as the leadoff track to Recently Okay. The first version, at two and a half minutes, is less than half the length of the original song. A new bassline has been added, which sounds oddly reminiscent of something off the first Death Cab for Cutie Record played backwards. This re-think of "Normative Forecasting" is interesting, and a nice change of pace, although by excising the original song's middle section, it emerges as a less powerful entity.

Now, I can understand one re-do of an older song, especially when the two versions are as different as they are in this case. But two?? The EP ends with "Normative Version", a remix of the song that does little but add annoying effects to the instruments and vocals, submerging the wholeb thing in a foggy, reverbed-out haze. Dwindle's decision to tack two new versions of an old song onto the end of this EP is peculiar, to say the least, especially when once of them is utterly useless. I'm at a loss as to what the band was trying to accomplish by doing this, except, perhaps, confusing the hell out of their diehard fans.

Thankfully, while the two versions of "Normative Forecasting" that close out the record are total head-scratchers, they do nothing to denigrate the quality of the rest of the EP, which is as essential for fans of the band, and an excellent diving-in point for the Dwindle newcomer.


Music

Books

Film

Recent
Film

The Dance of Male Forms in Denis' 'Beau travail'

Claire Denis' masterwork of cinematic poetry, Beau travail, is a cinematic ballet that tracks through tone and style the sublimation of violent masculine complexes into the silent convulsions of male angst.

Music

The Cradle's 'Laughing in My Sleep' Is an Off-kilter Reflection of Musical Curiosity

The Cradle's Paco Cathcart has curated a thoughtfully multifarious album. Laughing in My Sleep is an impressive collection of 21 tracks, each unapologetic in their rejection of expectations.

Music

Tobin Sprout Goes Americana on 'Empty Horses'

During the heyday of Guided By Voices, Tobin Sprout wasn't afraid to be absurd amongst all that fuzz. Sprout's new album, Empty Horses, is not the Tobin Sprout we know.

Film

'All In: The Fight for Democracy' Spotlights America's Current Voting Restrictions as Jim Crow 2.0

Featuring an ebullient and combative Stacey Abrams, All In: The Fight for Democracy shows just how determined anti-democratic forces are to ensure that certain groups don't get access to the voting booth.

Music

'Transgender Street Legend Vol. 2' Finds Left at London "At My Peak and Still Rising"

"[Pandemic lockdown] has been a detriment to many people's mental health," notes Nat Puff (aka Left at London) around her incendiary, politically-charged new album, "but goddamn it if I haven't been making some bops here and there!"

Music

Daniel Romano's 'How Ill Thy World Is Ordered' Is His Ninth LP of 2020 and It's Glorious

No, this is isn't a typo. Daniel Romano's How Ill Thy World Is Ordered is his ninth full-length release of 2020, and it's a genre-busting thrill ride.

Music

The Masonic Travelers Offer Stirring Rendition of "Rock My Soul" (premiere)

The Last Shall Be First: the JCR Records Story, Volume 1 captures the sacred soul of Memphis in the 1970s and features a wide range of largely forgotten artists waiting to be rediscovered. Hear the Masonic Travelers "Rock My Soul".

Music

GLVES Creates Mesmerizing Dark Folktronica on "Heal Me"

Australian First Nations singer-songwriter GLVES creates dense, deep, and darkish electropop that mesmerizes with its blend of electronics and native sounds on "Heal Me".

Music

Otis Junior and Dr. Dundiff Tells Us "When It's Sweet" It's So Sweet

Neo-soul singer Otis Junior teams with fellow Kentuckian Dr. Dundiff and his hip-hop beats for the silky, groovy "When It's Sweet".

Music

Lars and the Magic Mountain's "Invincible" Is a Shoegazey, Dreamy Delight (premiere)

Dutch space pop/psychedelic band Lars and the Magic Mountain share the dreamy and gorgeous "Invincible".

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 .

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.

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

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.