American quartet, Dawes have shown that nothing is wrong with a journey through the past. They won over a score of fans with their nostalgia-tinged debut, North Hills and now with album number two they continue to wear the sounds of Laurel Canyon and the influences of artists like Crosby, Stills and Nash and Neil Young prominently on their flannel sleeves.
Nothing Is Wrong is a record filled with 11 serene, mid-tempo tracks that tug at your heartstrings like a fair, acoustic guitar strum. It is very reflective and often sounds like some old treasure lifted from a vintage piece of vinyl covered in dust and taken from a shelf that was filled with rust. It is subtle and tuneful, full of gold of the genuine kind; no fool’s reside around here!
“Time Spent In Los Angeles” begins by traversing some well-trodden terrain. It is a wistful take on life on the road, one tackled recently by Big Scary except that here the music has a homely, familiar feel and is as easy listening as a song by The Eagles. It’s a vibe that will colour the majority of the material on here, with references to other artists often on the very tip of your tongue. It certainly rains true on “If I Wanted Someone,” which has Neil Young stamped all over it, from the distorted guitars to the talk about needing a maid.
There is also a classic feel on “Coming Back To A Man”. This one achieves the rare feat of sounding both catchy and laidback while “So Well” is a slower ballad. It again boasts what sounds like Mr. Young’s guitars but the harmonies could be by his one-time bandmates, Crosby, Stills and Nash. These are actually performed by brothers, Taylor and Griffin Goldsmith and together they look back at the dreams they had as children. Awwww.
Jackson Browne offers some backing vocals on “Fire Away”. This one’s a mellow pop number that is as pleasant as any one by Crowded House or Fleetwood Mac. “Moon In The Water” meanwhile, uses a light and feathery touch to produce an optimistic ditty about love and sets the mood high before the yearning, “Million Dollar Bill”. In the latter we hear the forlorn, Taylor Goldsmith aspiring to be an astronaut, the president, a movie star, basically rich and famous just so he can impress his lost love.
The lyrics on this album are also rather special. Often rather touching and very personal, they are comforting and hit the spot like the perfect cup of tea. Goldsmith may be 25-years-old but he often writes with the wisdom of a man at least double his age. In a curious twist, he says he uses a typewriter to write these down and it’s something he credits to making the final result more thoughtful because it’s a lot harder to change the words once they’ve been committed to paper.
Dawes are a self-described, American rock ‘n’ roll band that make smart and subtle storytelling look like an absolute breeze. Nothing Is Wrong certainly lives up to its title, as it is mature and confident with 11 melodious and tender tracks that will stir your heart with their muted charm. It may not be breaking new ground- heck, a lot of it was covered in the sixties and seventies (both literally and figuratively). But these guys have still managed to craft something that will resonate with modern fans despite the fact it sounds like it’s come from more old-fashioned charms like ink pens, leather-bound diaries and love letters. It’s all about the kind of tangible things that are worth nothing and everything, and that you’d put in a time capsule to document a chapter in lost love, desire, introspection and soul-searching, because no one remembers their first e-book.
Originally published on 20 April 2012 at the following website: http://www.the59thsound.com/dawes—nothing-is-wrong-20042012.html
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