Album: Pedestrian Life
Label: Bedroom Suck Records
Release Date: 25/06/2021
Originally written for 4ZZZ
I was rather taken aback and daunted with the knowledge that Dag are a coat of paint away from their ten year anniversary. The Brisbane come Melbourne collective worked through a series of line up changes but the move down south has locked down a trio for a substantial and still current tenure. This long standing three piece now is now bringing forth their sophomore album Pedestrian Life as a follow up to their stellar debut Benefits of Solitude. Sticking with Bedroom Suck Records for this release, it’s a fitting home. Dag’s well worn and rough with their shambolic charm birth not quite pop song pop songs that encapsulate a slice of life. All this is wrapped up in an earnest delivery and with just enough lack in their endearing production to strike a chord with my soft heart.
Point of You drearily emerges from a waft of feedback to exalt calm confidence, a trait we will find plastered throughout this record. Such confidence encourages us to indulged in such self care behaviours like doing yoga and joining a mediation circle. This John Joseph’s self help framework is then sharply flipped on its head by main voice Dusty Anastassiou who then suggests that such care for our souls wouldn’t be complete without buying a gun and building a bunker. Intimate production is the order of the day as space between gorgeous guitar chord jangles is filled with fret slides distinctive shrills. A fun meta oddity is provided by Something Might Happen having its own questioned answered almost immediately after posing it by Something Happened. The former’s soundscape gives time to ponder as a storm rolls overheard. This storm brings with it washed out guitars and a saxophone that barely croaks through like a choir of distant frogs. The latter layers guitar causerie with an overdriven companion who is bombastic enough to erupt into a solo before dropping off to a sudden close. Saccharine vocal melodies line up with calm confidence as Pedestrian Life’s major players. Yoo-Hoo works in song sing-a-long harmonies deftly with an added little something something provided by cheeky horns. Conversely, Badabada and the single Who Owns Pain run a similar course while reminding me on some serene vocalisation from Fishmans’ Long Season. Big Plans (Little Hands) goes all out Paul Kelly in a beautiful display on songwriting. Introspective lyrics narrated over one of the most robust instrumental performances on the record. Adding to this palate is a tasteful dose of strings and a harmonica cameo to boot. I’ve spoken about sweet vocal lines before but here the briefest of harmonies combine with nimble guitar work during the chorus.
Pedestrian Life came across, to me at least, a smidge bloated with its sixteen tracks but upon reflection, that’s like me complaining about there being too many slice in Terry’s Chocolate Orange. You can’t have too much of a good thing, especially when it is crafted in such a way as Dag have. All pop sensibilities and adept song writing glue this album together. Not initially apparent is how much you’ll enjoy these songs but you take these tunes on in your head and are forced to smile when they come around. It’s like you listened to them as a kid and now, they’re coming back to envelope you in a warm embrace.
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