I’d have to say, it’s not a half bad run for DC power pop this year. With the infectious album from Flasher already working its way onto the essentials list and a promising new LP on the way from Bad Moves, the city has no lack of upbeat vibes and summer strums. Flying further under the radar than either of those pop slashers is the new record from Dot Dash. While the band’s name nods towards the legacy of Wire, the bulk of their sixth album washes up closer to the shores of Sloan, Orange Juice and later period Superdrag. With production touches from Geoff Sanoff (Television, Lloyd Cole), it sparkles with a jangle-forward appeal that should sate those craving a particularly ‘90s seated vision of power pop.
The album anchors itself to a rosy whimsy, lush and bittersweet. It revels in a sunshine soul that’s just as often swooning as it is smashing through hooks with wild abandon. When the band snags themselves a hard charger they wrestle it for all its worth. “Green on Red,” “TV/Radio,” and “Sun + Moon = Disguise” all give anything vying for cloud-clearer status this year a run for its money. Power pop itself always seems such a blanket term, roping in the Beatles-baiting ‘70s nostalgists and ‘80s soft-punch punks, but the ‘90s digested all those previous incarnations and gave it a half-stack height adjustment and a coat of gloss. I’ve long had a soft spot for this period of players and its good to see a few bands holding up the reigns of those that slipped past the grit of grunge’s playground.
The band seems to have held some sort of permanent opener status, given their tenure, and the list of touring companions they cite. Hopefully the clean-lined clash of Proto Retro pulls them up int into the light this year. It’s a solid effort that deserves a closer listen and a spot on the docket of any power pop fan.
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