Out November 7, 2016
Review by Melanie Stangl
After more than five years on the scene, unique local rockers Dazzletine are set to debut their first full-length record, the ten-track Organomy, on November 7th. For fans of the brazen band, and anyone with an affinity for powerful, imaginative rock, this is a release worth all anticipation.
When you listen to Dazzletine, something becomes immediately obvious: this band is physically incapable of being background music. They are high-energy, inventive, and assertive. They bring the brashness of punk, the fuzzy guitars and wandering riffs of psychedelia, and the slick, shiny flourishes of glam pop together in a way that’s unmistakably theirs. The vocals of singer Dan Koshute are crucial to this: high, strong, and warbly without being weak—think Mika with the amp turned up to 11. Moments of intimacy and honesty in the lyrics provide heart to balance out the swagger. The group has a refreshing confidence in their strangeness that recalls acts such as Sleigh Bells and Tuneyards. Importantly, that confidence is warranted—their musicianship is impressive, with unique rhythms, solid riffs, and songs that adeptly move from one mood to another and back again. Listening to Organomy is an intense experience, and not one you’ll soon forget.
The band’s primary creative force is Dan Koshute, who wrote, co-produced, and mixed the record, in addition to his role as singer and guitarist. Co-producer Darren Diederich also provides bass, with Nick Fleury on synth, and Seth Chizeck on drums.
The album begins with the two-minute “Cores Bonds”, a weird, intimate introduction of sorts. Koshute’s unique vocals offer a high-pitched plea to “Hear my voice…inside of you,” with just a lo-fi acoustic guitar for accompaniment. Its stripped-down arrangement diverges from the rest of the album, but the track prepares you for the distinct feel that’s yet to come while displaying the band’s versatility. Next up is “Sacroman,” which is, in a word, triumphant. The power-chord guitar intro is absolutely anthemic, even Queen-like, and provides a stark, wall-of-sound contrast to the previous song. That strength pervades the entire number, particularly in moments when Koshute’s voice rockets over a climbing guitar riff with an impassioned “Yeeee-eeah.” The bridge offers complication with a transition into worried-sounding (but again, not weak) minor chords and lyrics such, “You got me surrounded…” before returning to the original pattern. It’s high-octane and in-your-face.
The energy is elevated even more on “Culled to Bells,” a frantic, brash, punk-inspired standout. Both guitar and drums shine in its feverish riff, and the layer of synth adds welcome complication and texture. Koshute offers fittingly fast-paced vocals during the verses, but reverts to his trademark high, sustained notes elsewhere, providing that distinctly Dazzletine feel. A slight slowdown in the bridge is immediately followed by an impressive instrumental build-up, with Chizeck attacking his drums at a truly staggering pace. This was the first single released from the record, which was a fitting choice: if this doesn’t make you want to jump around and bang your head, I can’t imagine what would.
“Hypo-Pristine” is characterized by its constant motion: on-off, up-down, back-and-attack. The frequent pauses between guitar riffs and lines of vocals make for a rhythmically interesting track with vague echoes of prog-rock. But still, it’s kept shiny, dynamic, and just accessible enough. The pattern of incorporating multiple vibes in a single song is repeated here: the bridge strips down to a single guitar and Koshute’s voice dipping low while he repeats “This forever means,” before exploding once more. These transitions aren’t choppy, showing a smart, inventive sense of structure.
Things slow down, slightly and welcomingly, on “Botany Per Burlesque.” A gentler, standalone riff provides the intro to a more low-key track. Which is not to say the instruments don’t still wail and the vocals don’t still pack a punch—the guitar solo around three minutes in is particularly solid. Rather, this is Dazzletine’s version of a breather, particularly in the song’s extended fadeout, in which two sparse layers of guitar (one heavily distorted, one not) layer pleasingly on top of one another. The placement of this track highlights the band’s keen ear for pacing.
Punk sensibilities, in the form of high-octane guitars and shouty vocals, return on “Luciferous Sound,” a two-and-a-half minute dynamo. Its lyrics are a little tricky to understand, but the melody and energy with which they’re delivered gets the message across just fine. The synchronicity of guitar and drums on the song’s main riff pack a powerful punch, and they come together even more ferociously in the track’s final twenty-five seconds. “Unseats All Bronzes (Panny),” meanwhile, combines a somewhat mellower feel with unconventional rhythms. The clear presence of an acoustic guitar and emphasis on the middle of Koshute’s vocal range are key elements, and again prove the band’s versatility. He repeatedly croons, “There’s so many, wonderful things” over background layers of “ooh’s” and “ahh’s.” This vocal layering is somewhat of a rarity on Organomy; often his voice stands alone, well-sustained in its power and range. But the multiple layers work well texturally here, as does his vocal repetition of the guitar riff with “oh-oh-oh-oh-oh”s at song’s end. It’s a solid middle-ground, an in-between in terms of both energy and plethora of influences.
“Mint Tactics” is Dazzletine’s take on a straight-up rock song. Grungier guitars claim center stage, which climb concurrently with Koshute’s voice in the chorus for a satisfying back-and-forth. The instrumental break once again takes things to a more unique place, rhythmically and instrumentally, with Diederich’s bass getting a chance to shine and a high, triumphant synth part from Fleury coming in around the two-minute mark. The song still shimmers with a little less packaging than other tracks, which is welcome. “Sorcell” switches things up yet again, recalling an 80’s power ballad with its dramatic synth introduction. Those sentiments (along with those synths) pervade the entire number: a modern take on a retro format. The lyrics of the chorus fit these heartfelt connotations too: “My heart is jumping, my heart is jumping, waiting for yo-o-ou.” Its dramatic, passionate guitar solos drive the feel home, but this is still clearly a Dazzletine song—Koshute’s return to consistently high, powerful vocals don’t let you forget it. He pushes the upper limits of his range impressively, and the track’s extended instrumental outro shows yet more of the band’s distinct, trademark sensibilities.
“High Touching” concludes things on a happy, head-nodding, feel-good note. Cheery guitars accompany a foot-tapping midtempo beat, along with the recurring, honest lines “I’m so glad, I fo-o-ound you,” and “Yes, it’s tru-u-ue.” The straightforward rock sound is mixed up with occasional pauses for emphatic, standalone drumbeats; a high floating synth part in the background; and an unexpectedly cool key change around two-and-a-half minutes in. Its thirty-second outro, a soft, fuzzy guitar solo, is particularly pretty. This song is a perfect choice for a conclusion, and a standout of the record.
Ultimately, Organomy showcases Dazzletine’s uniqueness, thoughtfulness, and passion in equal measures, for a powerhouse of a release. The album officially drops on November 7th. You can follow the band on Facebook here and on Bandcamp here.