The year may have ticked over to ’23, but I’m still playing a bit of catch-up on ’22. Last year was loaded with releases, tucking away gems in every stylistic corner. While I got a good dose of power pop throughout the year, the new album from DC’s Dot Dash has just begun to grace the speakers after I let it linger on top of the ‘listen’ pile too long. The band has been landing here off and on for the past few years and their bright, bold-lined pop songs are always a delight. Madman in the Rain is a looser, more limber offering than 2018’s caffeine rush, Proto Retro. Leaning into the jangles that slid out of the ‘60s and through the paisley patches of the ‘80s this time around, the band winds the clock back on their sound a bit. The last album was more often moored in the thicker sounds of the ‘90s class of power pop. This time around they’ve walked back a bit of the thickness in their sound and crouched on the cleaner end, letting that bigness of the ‘90s fall away.
The band nicks some Nuggets-scented organ from the paisley players. They dip into the literate jangles of the UK ‘80s, finding comfort in the overcast charms of The Weather Prophets and The Jasmine Minks. They shoo away the clouds with sunshine harmonies on the aptly named “Trip Over Clouds,” and add a bit of New Wave shadows on “Airwaves,” but for the most part this is a pure plunge into the pop that pulls from the most heartfelt strummers. Feeling like they’ve been revisiting Shake Some Action over the past couple of years, the band’s latest finds them falling in love with the roots of power pop all over again.
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