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The Instinct

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Album Review

On The Instinct, Denali has managed to shed its heavy Portishead atmosphere for a sound that is more immediate and more unique. The classically trained Maura Davis has clearly become comfortable with rock vocals, and on "Hold Your Breath" for example, she sounds confident and empowered like she owns the song. The production is an improvement on the debut as well — fuller and richer, yet grittier. Then there's the music, which ranges from Radiohead-worthy abstraction and experimentation on the moody "Surface" to gloomy indie disco on the title track (sort of like Joy Division doing Gang of Four with a sweet female singer) and David Lynch-ian soundtrack music on "Nullaby." The Instinct is both adventurous and accomplished and ambitious enough to suggest that this band is going to continue to push the limits one album after another.


Formed: April, 2000 in Richmond, VA

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '00s

After witnessing the power of her brother's band, Engine Down, vocalist Maura Davis decided she too wanted to try her hand at rock & roll. Joining her for Denali in spring 2000 were brother Keeley Davis (synth/bass), ex-Lazycain member Cam DiNunzio (guitar), and Jonathan Fuller (drums). Within months, Denali made its stage debut in Baltimore after an illness within Engine Down's ranks forced Denali to take the band's place. In January 2001, Denali recorded a five-song demo and ended up selling 700...
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The Instinct, Denali
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