Dananananaykroyd - Hey Everyone!
James McDonald 12/04/2009
As Charlie Brooker might say at this point, were he here, 'this is one mans opinion, not a pile of facts ground together in a fact grinding machine, a single opinion'. Indeed mine is one in a sea of thousands given the topic; a debut album from a much talked about, and varyingly pronounced, band. However one fact is certain; Dananananaykroyd's pedestal has been raised pretty high lately, but rightly so I have to say. A desperately needed breath of fresh air in an ever increasing, self-suffocating industry, the more cynical among us may say. I've been given almost a month to take in their debut album, 'Hey Everyone', and to be honest I've spent the vast majority of that time trying to find fault with the release. I really can't. What the band have produced is, quite simply, a staggeringly impressive modern rock album. It sounds huge; from the moment you press play, unleashing a brief intro of messy guitar welcome and mazy cries of 'Dananananananananananaykroyd' (I swear just writing the name makes me queasy), right up to the final, gloriously distorted fade out. Furthermore, in addition to it's grand stature, the LP boasts an endless quantity of timeless guitar riffs. I'm talking real quality lickage here. Think 'New Romance' era Pretty Girls Make Graves colliding with a chainsaw, or Reuben on speed. When 'Infinity Milk' drops (and it does), your whole body is awash with the feeling that something very special is happening, as with '1993', sounding far meatier than its demo-ed counter-part.
So then, my only real gripe with this band and the album itself, lies with vocalists Calum Gunn and John Baillie Junior, and their needless screaming every bloody second. Why are they so angry? What have I done wrong? I'm just listening; you don't need to shout at me! I understand the often-emotive nature of their music may indeed pre-bind them to such vocal tantrums, and, when needed, it's just what the doctor ordered. When it's not needed, however, (and for me this relates to at least 75% of 'Hey Everyone' as a whole) it's just annoying. 'Song One Puzzle', the final huzzah from Dana's debut, illustrates this perfectly. The track is cheerfully imaginative and boyishly bold throughout it's first half, with a gorgeous guitar tone interplaying between left ear and right in a boastful ping-pong. This is before said bliss is trampled on with vocal whine and an over pretentious line, 'it's like when your parents heard the Beatles'. 'Why?' I cry at this point. Unfortunately, 'Hey James' is where my headache seems to reach its' peak (although I'm told the song wasn't written about me, so no hard feelings there). Perhaps too many screams spoil the broth?
Maybe I'm being harsh. I'm driven to finding imperfection within something that wasn't even aware such a word existed. This is a rock album after all, bordering, at times, on the edges of metal. But whichever genre you want your media player to stick them in, you can't deny that they are almost too good at what they do. What's impressive about the band as a whole is their metamorphosis of structure; songs constantly punctuated and consequently emphasised by lightening-quick interchanges of dynamics, melody and class. They've created a monster of a sound, an eclectic mix of the aspects of music they love (instead of those they're told to love), and harnessed it with an almost sickening ease. For example, 'Totally Bone' is an anthem, much as it was in 2006 when it was released on 7” through Moshi Moshi, but hopefully a more widespread winner this summer. Its new persona is presented as pure bottled energy, rawer than Tourine and far more appetising. It makes you want to stand up and shout out 'yeah!' for no apparent reason (this is, admittedly, the 15% where the vocals are an accurate hit.) '…Bone's' nirvana then gives way to almost forgotten single 'Pink Sabbath', which, along with previous demos, sound mammoth having been re-hashed in New York. Further supporting evidence; 'One Chance' is Dananana reviving Refused, for exactly a minute, which is nice. Even 'Black Wax', a predominantly pensive offering, is enough to baffle modern peers.
So, in my one manned opinion, who am I to argue how the Glaswegian lads and lasses express themselves? Foals have their faults, but the hype was justified. 'Hey Everyone' is no exception. From start to finish it is a raging bull, pausing every so often to catch breath, before resuming to finish off the crockery. The word 'yeah' is used more times than could previously have been conceived by physicist or mathematician alike, but the reason why doesn't take at all long to figure out. Dananananaykroyd have an album worth shouting about, a release worthy of the praise it receives, and a debut to be proud of. For me, a megaphone would be a more effective method of communication - it certainly would sooth countless throats and ears. But in lieu of such a device, this album is an equally effective slant on creating modern history.
Release date: 06/04/09