A horrible hack


It's Still Pretty Terrible

Year Released: 2012
Format: LP
Label: Count Your Lucky Stars
Reviewed by MH on Sep 27, 2012
This is Dowsing's first LP. Or maybe it's an EP. I mean, it has ten tracks so I was thinking it was an LP. However, I stuck it on and everything sounded a little laboured and slow. It dawned on me then that it's a 45. It's definitely an LP though - it says so on the Count Your Lucky Stars website. I have been particularly impressed with Dowsing's previous efforts - that 7inch was a cracker. I've played it to death but keep coming back to it. It has a gang vocal with a cringe-worthy line on one of the best songs but I have managed to turn a blind eye (ear?) to it. They have really built on that sound from the 7inch and these ten songs clock in at well under 30 minutes.

This record kicks off with a lovely instrumental full of chiming, jangly guitars and a Midwest-influenced sound. I don't know why but I had never really noticed that they had an organ before – it doesn’t dominate the songs but its presence is more noticeable on a couple of the tracks. The jangly guitars are a feature and it's a sound they have nailed. The college rock vocals make their first appearance on track 2, "What Did You Ever Do?". This song also goes to show they are not afraid to throw in a few handclaps. The third track, "Gengar! Gengar! Gengar!" is a belter and the one that stood out for me on the first few listens - really great driving guitars and bouncing rhythms. If you like sadder, slower songs then "Littoral" is a lovely ditty (WARNING: there are lyrics on this song like "Meet me by the swings" and "I'll sing you to sleep if you dream about me" and this will probably let you know whether this song might be for you or not). My only complaint is about the fade-out at the end of that song though - perhaps my one and only complaint about this record. I even like the 80s (or is it 90s?) photo of the dorky kid (sorry kid!) on the cover. Whether it's the louder tracks like "Lavender", the more driving indie rock tracks like "Midwest Living" (with its dreaded gang vocals - fantastic song though) or those slower, sad songs, this band sets the bar high. I haven't even mentioned the slow-burning "Up To Me" yet which is another highlight. The last song "Somerset" reminisces about a time and place and is a perfectly wistful and subdued ending to a brilliant album. I can't even tell you what my favourite song is on here as it changes every time I listen to it. I am having to resist taking each song one at a time and telling you what I think is so great about each one - probably not done very well there as I've already mentioned the majority of the tracks. The levels of melancholia are quite high across the album and disappointment, longing for better times and days gone by are common themes. The melodies are great and the songwriting is so strong from start to finish - they’ve really come up with something outstanding here. Definitely one of my new favourite bands and possibly album of the year for me.

Recommended record by Collective Zine!

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