Thursday, July 18, 2013

Dawes - Stories Don't End (2013)

It's fitting that Dawes calls Los Angeles home because the quartet's easy rock is attractive to fans of the once popular, so-called, Laurel Canyon sound that rose to prominence out of the West Coast's most musical city way back in the 1970s. All three of the band's albums immediately remind you of the singer-songwriters who were on radio and the charts back in the day. Much has been written about how Jackson Browne, Joni Mitchell, Crosby, Stills, and Nash, and a host of other more modern composers with literary pretensions (such as Conor Oberst) have influenced the young outfit's writing. Dawes is definitely a rock band for thinking adults.

Composer Taylor Goldsmith bathes his songs in intelligent lyrics with musical arrangements that are neither too loud nor too soft. His lead vocals won't make you forget the great voices of our time but, like Browne, James Taylor, Steve Forbert, and others cut from the same cloth his singing is comforting, in tune, and perfectly suited for the type of music the band plays.

Dawes third CD, Stories Don’t End was widely anticipated by a whole lot of folks after their excellent 2011 release, Nothing is Wrong reached number twenty-three on the Billboard charts. Stories offers more of the same but, except for the very wordy "From a Window Seat (Rivers and Freeways)," the songs are not quite as accessible as they were on the band’s predecessor so it will take you a little longer to appreciate its pleasures.

I recommend you add Goldsmith and company's latest to your collection but before you do please read this article if you're sensitive about how much off-color language there is in rock music today. Regardless, Dawes is one of the best new bands of the still young century.

Stories Don’t End is named for a novel written in 1984 by Joan Didion.

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