Oh, Denver, you had us at hello…
Denver Dalley, Statistics *for the sake of his post-Desaparecidos* solo project, couldn’t sound more lovelorn if a soulmate he'd never met tore his heart out from behind, snapping his spine like a brittle twig whilst sighing a final despairing curse at the powers that could give pleasure, yet instead steal remorselessly from those deserving emotional fulfilment.
Every line finishes with his lungs utterly emptied, and however simplistic his rhymes sometimes become, not once do they slip from their perch of utmost sincerity. This is how the woes of the heart should manifest themselves musically; so-called soul-on-sleeve troubadours, take note: this is nourishing pop music at its most immediate best.
That hello happened when debut album Leave Your Name stretched its weary body up from the indie undergrowth and into the critical glare of a thousand expectant eyes and ears. Its pulses of static-soaked electronica and delicately strummed guitars were an instantaneous delight, but longevity was dampened by anticipation for another Desa’ record that never appeared. Often Lie is the compromise: a record that is both an echo of work past and that bears the compositional strengths common in the work of multi-personality outfits. The likes of ‘Final Broadcast’ and ‘No Promises’ trump the recent work of emo heavyweights Jimmy Eat World with ease, chunky guitars battering the hatches of slight lyrical musings. When the hush drifts in like coastline clouds from the endless ocean, its effect is absolute – the listener is instantaneously relaxed, senses open and exposed to confessional tones and the obvious ache of a man lost without a loving guide.
Only the closing instrumental, ’10.22’, feels surplus to requirements on here, on an album that ticks all the necessary boxes in only 31 minutes, and in ‘A Foreword’ Dalley has that wonderful ace up his sleeve: a potential crossover that’s both lyrically fragile and mightily rocking. It’s The Foo Fighters that exist in your in your head – how they should sound in their maturity without resorting to dull duets with coffee table pianists.
The tracks that revisit laptop territory, such as the metal-on-metal crackle and pulse of ‘By(e) Now’, have uploaded a spark of humanity unheard since ‘Cure Me’ from Statistics’ self-titled debut EP, and the aforementioned highlights are as fully-fleshed as anything a conventional band like this could offer. Often Lie is the sole pop-cum-indie-cum-emo record that’s worth investment this summer; overlook Death Cab’s limp return and say hello to your latest headphone buddy.
After repeated exposures goodbye has become a substantially harder word to whisper.
8Mike Diver's Score