Music Reviews
11:06 am
Mon April 22, 2013

Dawes' Story Gets A Fine New Chapter

Originally published on Mon April 22, 2013 5:14 pm

These days, when a rock band is tagged as a next big thing, there's usually some high-concept gimmick involved. Dawes is different. Singer and guitarist Taylor Goldsmith writes straightforward verse-chorus-bridge songs that focus on the turmoil beneath the surface of relationships, romantic and otherwise. Some seem downright ordinary — until Goldsmith shifts perspective between verses or slips in a startlingly self-aware observation that makes you think, "Wow, this guy is cutting close to the bone."

Dawes has an affinity for the easygoing California folk-rock of the early '70s; Jackson Browne and The Eagles are big influences. But with its new album, Stories Don't End, the band has expanded its range. In addition to restless road songs, the new record has country rambles and several slow, hypnotic meditations. Goldsmith says much of the new material came after he immersed himself in the songs of Willie Nelson.

Stories Don't End is Dawes' third record, and as happened with the first two, it's been greeted with huge next-great-hope-of-rock superlatives. That seems a bit overheated for this band. Its members may never reach superstardom, which is almost beside the point, because they've crafted such solid, exceedingly disciplined, sharply observed songs.

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Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

You're listening to ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News.

Ever since they arrived with this song back in 2009, Dawes has been described as a band on the verge of greatness.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "WHEN MY TIME COMES")

DAWES: (Singing) When my time comes...

SIEGEL: Following several years of heavy touring - including opening for Mumford & Sons - the L.A. quartet has just released its third album. It's called "Stories Don't End." And critic Tom Moon says it contains disarmingly beautiful, refreshingly simple songwriting.

TOM MOON, BYLINE: These days, when a rock band is tagged as a next big thing, there's usually some high-concept gimmick involved. Dawes is different.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "JUST BENEATH THE SURFACE")

DAWES: (Singing) Just beneath the surface, there's another one of me. At the root of all my troubles, in the twitch before I speak, with thoughts and revelations even I could not accept, just beneath the surface is where he will stay kept.

MOON: Singer and guitarist Taylor Goldsmith writes straightforward verse-chorus songs that focus on the turmoil beneath the surface of relationships, romantic and otherwise. Some of them seem downright ordinary until Goldsmith changes the perspective between verses or slips in a startling self-aware observation that makes you go, wow, this guy is cutting close to the bone.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "JUST MY LUCK")

DAWES: (Singing) Just my luck, I never said I loved you. Just my luck, it completely slipped my mind. It's not my colder-hearted tendencies that keeps you from being here with me, or the universe's brilliant designs. It's just my luck.

MOON: Dawes has affinity for the easygoing California folk rock of the early 1970s. Jackson Browne and The Eagles are big influences. But with this album, the band has expanded its range. In addition to its restless road songs, the new album has several slow, hypnotic meditations.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "SIDE EFFECTS")

DAWES: (Singing) Because every time you said you loved me, seems like the point escaped us both.

MOON: And there are country rambles too. Goldsmith says much of the new material came after he immersed himself in the songs of Willie Nelson.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "SOMEONE WILL")

DAWES: (Singing) So I hope my voice can stay as clear as I need it to. But that my words take on the nature of a drill to be set against the frozen sea inside of you.

MOON: This is the third Dawes record, and as happened with the first two, it's been greeted with huge next-great-hope-of-rock kind of superlatives. That seems a bit overheated for this band. They may never reach superstardom, and it's almost beside the point because they've crafted such solid, exceedingly disciplined and sharply observed songs.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "MOST PEOPLE")

DAWES: (Singing) And she thinks most people don't talk enough about how lucky they are.

SIEGEL: The new release from Dawes is called "Stories Don't End." Our reviewer is Tom Moon.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "MOST PEOPLE")

DAWES: (Singing) ...what it takes for me to get through the day. Most people don't talk enough about the love in their hearts. Don't talk enough about the love in their hearts. But she doesn't know most people feel that same way.

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

You're listening to ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.