Dappled Cities : Lake Air
The discography of Dappled Cities has had a steady upward trajectory ever since they dropped the ‘fly’ from their name (though, weirdly, I miss the ‘fly’). Their last album, 2009’s Zounds, was a bulked-up, glossy epic that, while deeply satisfying, was always on the verge of getting lost under its many layers. Wisely, the Sydney quintet’s next step has been to keep the sheen, but boil things down to what they do best: short, sharp pop songs.
Once again, the songs alternate between the two lead vocalists, Tim Derricourt and Dave Rennick, and there’s enough difference in their delivery for the songs to really make their mark under their guiding vocal but still form a consistent whole as an album. The two songs previewed before Lake Air’s release, Run With The Wind and Born At The Right Time, are the best examples of the band diving headfirst into slick, forceful pop that hooks you on first listen and then demands constant revisiting.
The lyrics point to the past and the present, meshing tales of passionate youth (Run With The Wind, Real Love) with more reflective stories of growing older (The Leopard, Lake Air). But the music is a firm bedding down of their craft to an immediate, uptempo version of what they have delivered previously. With the aid of co-producer Jarrad Kritzstein and mixer Cenzo Townshend, the band strip things back and take another small shuffle away from their art-rock leanings toward radio-friendly, indie-dance territory.
While the streamlined sound of Lake Air does away with some of the band’s eccentricities and the end result doesn’t quite have the variation of their other three albums, any of its ten songs would make for a catchy single. Something of a product of the download generation, it’s more about the power of the individual songs than how it hangs together as an album – you could happily have it on shuffle and get as much out of each listen.
The most impressive thing about Dappled Cities is how the usual comparisons to other bands remain elusive – you’ll have to excuse the rather vague ‘If You Like These...’ recommendations below. This is, and can only be, Dappled Cities. And they’ve bounced back with another instant classic of an album.
BY CHRIS GIRDLER
Best Track: Born At The Right Time
If You Like These, You’ll Like This: Time and Tide SPLIT ENZ, Post Paradise THE HOLIDAYS, Two Dancers WILD BEASTS
In A Word: Airtight