It’s hard to be a teenager in a band; I speak from experience when I say that getting gigs, reviews and indeed, getting people to take you seriously is a struggle. This is why The Dialogue are all the more frustrating – a group of five classically trained musicians, none of whom are over the age of 18, trying to make it in the fickle world of rock and roll. So given their talent, is their debut EP, the curiously punctuated ‘Light Is The Party Bomb, Your Misery’, going to be a bloated prog rock nightmare, or will they avoid pretension and create something fantastic?
Seemingly, they merge the best of both worlds. Opening with an intricate, funky bassline that Gomez would be proud of, ‘Amy’ kicks the ep off in storming fashion. Subdued without being boring, the restrained, waltzing drums and fantastic piano riffs counter singer Tim Sheinman’s lethargic vocals, which sound at least double his 17 years of age. At times, the lyrics stray into distinctly 6th form territory (“You’re sinking down with her into fields of amber and ochre” being a prime example), but once you hit Dave Isaacs’ cascading keyboard solo from the abandoned funfair from hell, and the sickly sweet 4-part harmonies, you seem to forget any of the imperfections and concentrate on how great The Dialogue are as musicians.
Live highlight ‘The Day That Paris Burned’ is a gloriously cinematic masterpiece, reminiscent of Hope Of The States; ambient delay pedal noise and a funny time signature get complimented by Ali Wedderburn’s gloriously awkward vocals, which sound emotional yet sneery, like Brett Anderson, while he still had his demon. The soaring chorus (sung by yet another vocalist, Alex Cole), steps the track up a gear, propelling the track into indie anthem territory…that is, if indie anthems are allowed to be in 5/4 time. The song’s final moments see Sheinman snarl, recalling the antiestablishment sentiments of Morrissey ("If the bodies in the Thames make the water turn red, then the queen is dead"), while holding a voice that sounds like Bowie in the prime of his Hunky Dory-era, accompanied by not one, but two satanic choirs and a pounding military drumbeat.
Of course, it can’t all be this great, and ‘Hush’ suffers from being a little too run of the mill, all keening guitars and Elbow-esque vocals, but the final track brings the quality back where it belongs. ‘Meet You Tomorrow’ is a hit in the making – the most commercial offering on here, and the one that may well propel the band into the charts. A swooning epic of a pop song, it sees Sheinman telling the story of meeting a girl over the internet, only to find out “That it was your thirteenth birthday today.”, while Alex Cole’s guitar glides gently in and out of the mix. Obviously, given the subject matter, it would be wrong if a little bit of humour weren’t included (“I traded my Kleenex for KY and Durex”), but Sheinman sings with such emotion and passion that you wouldn’t be surprised if the track was autobiographical. Depressingly, it’s not, but that’s probably the worst thing about it.
“Light Is The Party Bomb, Your Misery” shows a musical maturity that belies the band’s age, but they’ve still got a way to go if they want to make waves. The biggest gripe about the ep is the production; while accomplished - the band obviously know what they want - they need to find a producer that could cope with the use of accordions, gongs and flugelhorn. Thankfully, they’ve got time on their side.
8Alex Wisgard's Score