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#36 - Music vs. ComedyDale Earnhardt Jr. Jr.

It’s a Corporate World

Quite Scientific

Jun 08, 2011 Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. Bookmark and Share


Yes, it’s a really stupid band name—but don’t let it get in the way of enjoying the tunes. (Remember childhood lessons about not judging a book by its cover?) On their first full-length, Detroit-based pop duo Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. spin a lighter-than-air mix of crisp guitars, electronic squeals, and Beach Boys-style harmonies to create a surprisingly stripped-down pop hybrid that’s equal parts fun in the sun and psychedelic freak-out.

The key is in the band’s unhurried charm. “An Ugly Person on a Movie Screen” opens with a front-and-center drum machine, which is then usurped by a chorus of coos in a lackadaisical climb towards the song’s gently cresting peak. The title track sneaks in oh-so-serious questions such as “Are you allocating all your funds and wages”—you know, traditional pop lyric fodder—over a baseline of plunked pianos and still more duo harmonies-all which move with the unhurried stroll of a salaried worker on vacation leave. Token rocker, “Almost Lost Detroit” borrows a bit of classic Motor City sound—interpreting the soulful rocker through a gauzy, mid-paced folktronica lens.

Three tracks from the band’s debut EP Horsepower also appear on the full-length, and are certainly worth a second (or 100th) listen in the new context-including the aptly named “Vocal Chords,” with its gutsy a cappella opening, and the slacker-love song “Nothing But Our Love.” But it’s the instantly singable “da-da-da” chorus of “Simple Girl” that all but acts as the band’s ultimate mission statement: In a world crammed full of commitments (business and otherwise), Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. has harnessed a cheery, minimalist quirkiness no corporate world could squash. (www.daleearnhardtjrjr.com)

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