Saturday, April 28, 2012

Dowsing - 2011 All I Could Find Was You

Band : Dowsing
Album : All I Could Find Was You
Release Year : 2011
Genre : Indie | Emo
Tracklist :
1. Driving
2. Amateur Cartography
3. Dinos
4. ...And That's Why You Always Leave A Note!
5. Maxwell
6. Joking/Laughing

It’s hard to know what to make of Dowsing’s debut EP, ‘All I Could Find Was You’. Despite the band’s youth they clearly know what they are aiming for, and that is heart-warming indie-emo with a decidedly melodic edge. This is essentially what you get here, and this is by no means a bad thing. However, the band toe a very thin line between a scant, yet uplifting sound, and a timid, overly-soft one. This battle is immediately obvious, and ultimately it’s inescapability defines the record, as well as the listener’s propensity to like it or not.

The EP’s closer ‘Joking/Laughing’ is microcosmic of this battle. Building from an embarrassingly timid opening to a gloriously overblown finale, it is uncomfortable one minute, and delightful the next. Despite sporadic cringe-worthy moments, Dowsing tend to exhibit enough charm to save themselves and this lies mostly in their solid song writing abilities, and their generally likeable demeanour. ‘Amateur Cartography’ is a mid-tempo ode to the joys of touring, and despite its structural linearity it remains engaging throughout. Meanwhile, ‘…And That’s Why You Leave A Note!’’s youthful sense of yearning ultimately rescues vocals that sound like someone trying to sound excited on Valium.

Elsewhere, their tired charm sounds far more comfortable, and when this is the case the results are far more pleasing. The reduced pace and stoned presence of the keyboard in ‘Maxwell’ perfectly compliment the vocals’ characteristic weariness and this means that they don’t feel uncomfortably timid. Furthermore it’s distant gang vocals proclaiming “no more living in the past/we’ll be high but we’ll try our best”, perfectly fit the song’s drug-like haze. At the other end of the spectrum, ‘Driving’ is characterised by exciting contrasts between hoarse cries and sleepy vocals, and between focussed chord progressions and ‘twinkling’ guitar melodies.

When Dowsing go all out, one way or another, they really shine; when they find themselves attempting to compromise the results can be fairly uncomfortable. Slower moments such as ‘Maxwell’ and more ragged tracks such as ‘Driving’ are exceptions, but generally Dowsing occupy a mid-tempo, lukewarm middle-ground. This is not necessarily a bad thing, but at times Dowsing are too compromising for their own good. Fortunately however, they are also too charming and endearing to dismiss just yet, and ultimately ‘All I Could Find Was You’ shows a great deal of potential and immediate value. -Richard Craig (Sputnikmusic)

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