Dante & The Lobster: Wonders Review
These days I kind of get the feeling that the Twin Cities music scene is getting ready to burst open. Not only have several local artists recently trickled into the national consciousness (Dessa, Lookbook, Red Pens) there are a bunch of equally talented bands queued up right behind them, ready to turn that stream into a flood. Dante & the Lobster may be just such a group – the talented psychedelic four piece could easily become a dominant force in the current trend towards all things retro and low fi. That much becomes immediately evident after a single listen to their debut record, Wonders, a treasure trove of sunkissed 60’s pop, psychedelic distortion, and laid-back melodies.
While D&L may take their moniker from a semi-obscure Samuel Becket play (they also claim Herman Hesse, Charlie Chaplin, and “abstract expressionists” as influences amongst others), Wonders is anything but esoteric. The band is rooted in the melodic guitar hooks of sixties’ Britpop, with straightforward, hummable tunes and harmonies that stick in your skull. Tracks like the eminently sticky “Marine Life,” sound accessible even when they are intentionally dressed down in layers of reverb and hollow intonation. They aren’t just simple melodies either – where the band tones the sound down with low-fi production, they also flesh it out with a variety of instrumentation and vocal parts that surround the tunes with bizarre ambiance like Oz to the yellow brick road.
Standout tracks include the folky “Don’t Act that Way,” which sounds a bit like a cross between Arthur & Yu and the Brian Jonestown Massacre; the spaced out rock jam “Wake Up,” as well as “The Girl with Weird Eyes,” with its intricate guitar parts and surf rock feel. The aforementioned “Marine Life” and “Treading” are currently tied for best tune in my mind, but really overall there just plain isn’t any weak sauce here at all. I highly recommend you check out Wonders for yourself. You will next be able to do so this Saturday, March 6th at the lovely 331 Club where copies will be available for the very low price of five dollars. If you spend the rest of your cash on booze, be sure to drink a toast to the Twin Cities music scene, because right now it is definitely worth celebrating.
— Jon Behm