Album: Pretty Good
Release date: August 6th, 2013
This is Dads’ first release since their debut LP American Radass (this is important) which came out almost a year to the day prior (August 7th, 2012). Dads is a band that many consider part of the new wave of ‘90s emo revival, but to me they standout above the rest because their songs aren’t just a rehash of old American Football riffs. I mean, Kinsella is a genius, but there is only one Mike Kinsella. If you do not know about Dads, you might be surprised to find out that they are a two piece comprised of singer/drummer John Bradley and singer/guitarist Scott Scharinger.
The album opens with its lead single “My Crass Patch.” This song caught many fans, including me, by surprise, but in a very good way. It is much heavier than their previous material. John’s loud and heavy drumming accompanied by Scott’s dark chords and many rhythm changes grab your attention right away. The song starts very fast paced and heavy, but turns into a darker, slower groove as it builds suspense for the vocals to finally come in. After this, the song picks up and gets to its catchiest part where John repeats the lyrics, “Be my change; don’t change a thing.” This song definitely keeps you on your toes and makes you curious to see what direction they have taken with the rest of the EP.
The second track, “Can I Be Yr Deadbeat Boyfriend?” is a song that shares much more similarity to their previous work. It is a quick bit of emo/punk (the song is just under two minutes long) fronted by guitarist Scott where he sings about being in unfamiliar places and moving on from a past relationship. The song closes with one of my favorite lyrics on the EP, “You can only get hurt once, after that, it’s a lack of being self aware. So, don’t come home.”
Dads follows this song up with “Boat Rich.” This song is a bit of the classic Dads style, but with a very present pop twist to it and I must say, it works. This song features one of the catchiest guitar riffs Scott has ever laid down and it is sure to get people moving at concerts. John’s vocal delivery on this track is very reminiscent of Evan Weiss (Into It. Over It., Pet Symmetry, Their/They’re/There, Stay Ahead of the Weather) and it makes me want to hear a future collaboration. The guitar paired with the pop sensibility in lyrics is bound to make this a crowd favorite. “I’m finally realizing that home, it doesn’t have an address.”
The EP closes out with the very emotional “No, We’re Not Actually.” This is the slowest song of the EP and features the softest moments of the EP. Musically, the song is based upon a slow picked guitar part and a droning organ in the background. At around the two and a half minute mark John’s drums come in and the song starts slowly building and the song erupts into its heavy ending when John desperately screams, “Don’t die on me yet.” The song eventually pulls back and gets calmer, but then starts building again and ends and just leaves you there. The song structure is phenomenal. Lyrically, the song takes on the subject of trying to stay strong and positive while you have a loved one in the hospital dying to make it more bearable for yourself and your loved one. One of my favorite lyrics and a great example of this is, “There’s the prettiest view of the city from his bedside window. If you ignore what they’re for, the machines make the most beautiful glow. Turn the lights out and go.” During the heavy part of the song, the lyrics get very retrospective and painful- “I can’t bear to see him like this again. I keep thinking back to all of us in that kitchen on those mornings.” While the subject matter of the song is very specific, the lyrics are applicable to many different situations and everyone will be able to relate in some way.
A few other things that standout about this EP- the production of this album is much more refined, clean and technically better. While I think the production on American Radass was perfect for that album, the growth in production quality fits perfectly with the growth of their music. This EP does a great job of showing Dads’ progression and holding my attention while I wait for what will come next. It’s nice to see a band not trapping themselves into one specific genre or sound. This release is great for returning fans and provides a great sampler for new fans to get into the band with.
You should listen to this if you a fan of bands like American Football, Into It. Over It., Snowing, Algernon Cadwallader, You Blew It! and The Promise Ring.
You can pick up your copy here: http://dadsnj.bandcamp.com/album/pretty-good
Review by Nathan Cornell
Stream the album here: