Dinowalrus – Best Behavior
What the band say about themselves:
“psychedelic synth-punk band from Brooklyn”
What I say about the band:
So there’s a new American Manchester tribute act in town is there?
What the album opener ‘The Gift Shop’, say about the rest of the album:
As a band, they love keyboards, and the bongo is just not used enough in modern alternative music, will high hats do instead? The more echoey a vocal sounds, the dreamier and more abstract the lyrics clearly are. Johnny Marr’s is the greatest guitarist in the world and to play a style different to him would be heresy of the highest order.
Is it still 1991?
‘Phone Home from the Edge’ is a dreamy, melody driven piece of ambient psych pop, Pete Feigenbaum’s vocals edge slightly too close to mumbling for my liking, but his guitar work keeps the hold thing tighter than it wants to be.
‘Rico’ with it’s bassline and synths bears musical similarities with ‘Different Class’ era Pulp, but vocals sit much closer to the new breed of dreamwave/alternative acts such as Phoenix, Minks and Wild Nothing currently not getting the airplay they deserve on national FM radio stations.
‘What Now’ sounds like a B-side to British Sea Power, with Feigenbaum’s vocals sounding eerily similar to Yan’s own voice. Aiding by styled, sharp guitar and rhythmic, throbbing bassline of Liam Andrew plus the punchy, driven drumming of Max Tucker, it’s an attention grabbing piece of music that demands attention and repeat listens. Climaxing with punky, spitting guitar riffs, this is Dinowalrus at the most confident and swaggering.
What does the album ACTUALLY say about the band:
At times a mismatched affair, with the psychedelia elements fighting for space against a new-wave, post punk sound which Dinowalrus appear much more confident and naturally talented in producing.
It’s a strong piece that sounds more indebted to 80’s post-punk artists that it really needs to be, which is frustrating as successful modern rock acts, such as British Sea Power, have successfully managed to capture certain aspects of post punk without it feeling like a homage or a tribute to those who have come before them.
At one point on ‘Riding Easy’, Feigenbaum actually sings (whether it’s incidental or purposefully) “moving on up”. Now whether you’re quoting from Primal Scream’s Screamadelica album knowingly, or it’s just coincidental, what it does do is pinpoint perfectly Dinowalrus’ seeming desire to be part of a music scene they’re two decades too late for.
This is underpinned by album closer ‘Dinosaur Adenture 3D’ which goes at lenght to recapture the Hacienda’s glory days and leaves you wondering why, after an album of post-punk and new wave rock, stained with dreamwave and yes, some psychedelic rock, we are then presented a tribute to techno and acid house, complete with 90’s style club vocals!
If you’re a Manchester tribute act, you’re a Manchester tribute act, that’s fine, but decide whether you’re a tribute act to post punk acts, or of the city’s rave culture. You can’t be one or the other, otherwise you’re neither.
For fans of:
The Stone Roses, The Smiths, British Sea Power, Wild Nothing, The Cure, Pulp.
Words: Fuzz Caminski