Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Dora Flood -- We Live Now (2007) (Previously unpublished review)

Dora Flood -- We Live Now (Elephant Stone)

This stalwart California (Bay Area/Berkely) band slots somewhere between Guided By Voices and The Soundtrack Of Our Lives, two somewhat similar bands who put an original spin on ‘60s rock influences and don’t let the fact that rock and roll is purportedly a young man’s game stop them from consistently releasing strong albums. The Flood is a top notch psychedelic outfit who follows conventions, but isn’t afraid to play around with them.

I’m no Pink Floyd expert, but when I hear Dora Flood, the band’s sound often reminds me of Pink Floyd. Or rather, Pink Floyd if Roger Waters sang for the band while he and Syd Barrett worked together on the music. Of course, there’s more to the sound than that, but it’s a good starting point.

One of the songs that really gives off this vibe is “Daydream”, which has one of the strongest hooks on the album. In addition to Floyd, The Church is another band who could have pulled off this slice of paisley pop. The song introduces itself with a majestic riff, with a harmonica and acoustic guitars ornamenting the big electric guitar. The song then swirls around in the verses, before the riff comes in to set up the drawling chorus, which is punctuated by a classic Eastern lead guitar figure. It’s pretty uplifting.

On “Atlantis”, Dora Flood connects the dots between Pink Floyd and Radiohead. Of course, this is an old comparison, but the band here mixes its retro-songwriting chops with keyboard and guitar bits that could have come off The Bends or OK Computer. Frontman Michael Padilla adds to the flavor, singing at the top of his range. This song alternates between sadness and defiance and oozes feeling. And with its mix of sounds, it might be able to bring two generations of music fans together.

“Faith and Deviation” has a grandeur about it that gives it the sound of ‘70s AOR staple. The effects laden guitar leads and echoing keyboards provide a foundation to float over in the verses. The chorus clangs in on another hard guitar part. The song winds its way to nice extended instrumental break, with a cool spacey reverberating guitar solo, followed by a more stinging one. This is one song where I found myself wishing I could see these guys live, as the power is so evident.

They hit the ground running on “Everywhere You Go”. From ten paces away, this sounds a bit like fellow Michigan-ers Outrageous Cherry. The song chugs along and has a poppy sheen. Or maybe I’m thinking Gumball. Anyway, it’s a percolating piece of psych-pop. Meanwhile, “Humble High” is light and languid, with some nice chord changes that hit in just the right places. Until about the three minute mark, when a sinister guitar comes in an tears a hole in the flower power veneer and then checks out almost as quickly as it checked in.

If you’re a fan of some of the bands I’ve listed above, or Donovan’s Brain or Rockfour or The Dipsomaniacs (Norwegian, not New Jersey), you really owe it to yourself to check out Dora Flood. The band never disappoints, as this album is the most recent proof of that.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hey...you say you want to see them live? I happen to know they are playing a show at Annie's Social Club in San Francisco on Wed, July 23. Go out and see them LIVE!!!