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The Kick and the Snare

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Album Review

The Deathray Davies have always been an interesting band combining a downcast and often insular lyrical approach with a sometimes sunny, sometimes lo-fi and ugly sound, much like a less cheery Pavement or a tune-free Guided by Voices. Interesting, but missing something important. Their fifth album feels like the sun breaking through the clouds as the band tosses aside any indie pretension and steps unblinking into the big leagues. The Kick and the Snare is a glittering, slick, and tough-as-nails rock record with hooky tunes, rich arrangements (full of horns, percussion, and funky keyboards), exciting performances, and the best batch of songs Davies mainstay John Dufilho has yet come up with by far. The first track alone is better than anything the band had done previously: "The Fall Fashions" is a tight slice of modern power pop that surges and flows like classic Who or Kinks without sounding a bit like them. Other tracks like the chiming "In Circles," the pounding and heartfelt "Release the Squid (Box 6)," the sweet and peppy "A Calendar Crime," and the epic "Alaska" are first-class indie with an eye to playing stadiums rock. These songs have bite, style, and melodies that stick. Only "Chainsaw (Denn Die Toten Reiter Schnell)" lets down the side a touch as it's too monochromatic and sounds like the old Deathray. It is just a small blip though; this newly kicking version of the group is a welcome and exciting surprise. If you had written them off as too run-of-the-mill, come on back because things are hoppin' now. If you've never even heard of the Deathray Davies, step up to the plate and shoot your shot, because you won't find much better indie rock than this in 2005.


Genre: Rock

Years Active: '90s, '00s

Hailing from Dallas, TX, the Deathray Davies woo listeners with a dizzy, fuzzed-out version of retro garage pop that harks back to such '60s bands as the Kinks and the Seeds. The Davies began in 1998 as the one-man show of singer/guitarist John Dufilho, whose songwriting vault contained several songs that didn't seem fit for his present band, Bedwetter. After moving from San Antonio to Dallas, Dufilho recorded his solo debut under the Deathray Davies moniker, playing all of the instruments himself....
Full bio
The Kick and the Snare, The Deathray Davies
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