Friday, May 22, 2009
International Band Review - "Don't Wait, Animate"
A little while ago, I received a promotional email announcing that Don’t wait, Animate, a band from Britain, was pioneering a new genre, a fusion of Indie and Dubstep known as ‘strumstep’. A whole new genre? What anticipation! But I have to admit, I was thoroughly underwhelmed.
I was provided with two songs, "Screwface" and "Atlas moans". The first was all instrumental, with a strong beat, and combination of three simple repeating melodies. It was pleasant enough, but no ‘spark’ – didn’t do much for me. The second was shorter with sparse music and mumbled, incomprehensible words.
Since I had so little to base my opinions on, I investigated DWA’s myspace to hear what other offerings they had. In this case, I was pleasantly surprised. The recordings are better, with British-accented vocals clearly audible. The music is better, too. “6174” starts with a vibrato-drenched, surfy solo guitar riff and moves on to angular guitar melodies over a punchy, danceable beat and shouted vocals. “Noah Sparks”, my favourite of their current offerings, combines subdued, depressing verses with dancey choruses and a command to dance and enjoy life. Now that’s what I call music. The only disappointments were the formerly mentioned “Screwface” and “Signum”, apparently a cover, which is also more instrumentally based and resembles that electronic dance music those kids are listening to nowadays in a rather unremarkable fashion.
I do have one bone to pick with Don’t Wait, Animate – they did not, in fact, invent a new genre of music. Indie musicians have been influenced by dub and reggae before, in fact, even British ones. The Clash, or the Homosexuals, anyone? I’m not too up on my genres, but I think we maybe call this “post punk” or something like that. The premise of a “new” genre suggests extreme innovation, and while these guys have some good songs, their sound is not unique. They also seem to be at a bit of a crossroads between more lyric driven type rock songs and more instrumentally based dance songs. In my opinion, they should work on more vocal heavy songs – these got me feeling good and wanting to dance, while the instrumental ones made me think of when a person gets drunk or high in their basement and ‘jams’ for a while, then listens to the recording and thinks, “Man, that was way more epic when I was stoned.” DWA leaves me with mixed feelings as of now, but if they focus on what they’re good at, and provide reviewers with their best work rather than their worst, they could become a favourite in the future.