Thursday, October 23, 2014

Up From the Underground : Dimestore Prophets' "Be Yourself"

When this album came out back in April it was much more suited for the summer months to come, in October it's a little more upbeat than what I would listen to but I'm sure these guys do well on the college circuit . Dimestore Prophets hail from Moses Lake Washington they released their newest effort " Be Yourself" back in April they believe in honing their sound onstage , in the past three and half years the band has played over 200 shows up and down the Pacific Northwest, that has included opening for the likes of The Verve Pipe and Indubious. Reggae is an element of what this three piece does, but it's an undercurrent to their jangling throw back to the collage rock of the late 90's. I'm sure the sound these guys kick up does well on college campus' that particularly 420 friendly. There are liberal doses of Blues Traveller and the Spin Doctors, stuff that I wasn't fond of back in the day, but now when it comes on there is certain nostalgia that prevents me from turning the dial.

They do conjure up more balls as certain passages find more grit. The singer has a decent pop inflected voice. You can here the jammy side of the band that I am sure is a larger part of their sound on stage than in the studio, where it seems like they are using a measure of restraint to keep from taking off. The Hammond organ gives songs like "Good Lovin" an almost Black Crowes flavor, but singer Ray Glover's addiction of pop, comes across more like Jason Mraz.The drummer and bassist are pretty impressive in the manner they bring a much larger rambling sound to these simplistic songs. Glover also starts throwing in some sparse soloing, that has a really good tone, for what these guys are doing. The guitars on the album are largely strummed acoustics, the electric guitar is more of an accent. When the chill out into a slower pace it feels like Jimmy Buffet or Zac Brown.

As the album progresses the reggae influence creeps out more, it also bears some pop country elements.If these guys had grown up in Venice Beach or South Beach, the reggae element might be more convincing. "Sunny Day" is the closest these guys come to playing authentic reggae, the are still a few blunts short of Sublime or even the Police. Though some of the punches that come up mid way into "Sunny Day" would not be out of place on "40 oz to Freedom". The album sounds good from a production standpoint. Ben Smith at Synergy Studios in Seattle certainly did these guys a solid and captured some really crisp organic sounds.

Listening to this band you have the feeling that any one who knows them is going to tell you "the albums don't do them justice, you really have to check them out live." I have heard that countless times and might have even said it once or twice myself, but in the case of these guys I have a feeling it's true. Musician's have an adage that you must always play in a way that serves the song, this is true unless you are a better musician than you are a song writer then you need to make the most of the moments you create. Most of these guys' best moments are happening on stage, so when they buckle themselves down to write three or four minute radio songs,  they are losing a lot in translation. This is not to say these are bad songs, it just seems if they had cut loose and jammed out more in the studio it would have probably been a more authentic representation of what I imagine these guys sound like if they are pounding out the kinda mileage playing dives on the road. If you are missing your days getting stoned at the beach this past summer when the first frost of November sets it then this is a good album to have on hand.

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