As anyone who has witnessed Danava’s half-hour load-in will tell you, the band members struggle mightily to control their tendencies toward ridiculous grandiosity. Moogs, synths, amps upon amps, and their very own light show have been deemed essential to the presentation of their shirtless space-rock stylings. So I guess it should come as little surprise that none of the songs on the band’s debut EP clock in at less than six minutes, and one particular opus (“Eyes in Disguise”) meanders for nearly thirteen whole minutes.
I wouldn’t feel the need to point out the song’s duration if it weren’t for the fact that the first four minutes comprise nothing more than a repetitive assortment of NES-esque blips. And those blips merely give way to another minute and a half of synth finger rolls accompanied by guitar, bass, and drum blasts. Only then does the song’s real nuclear theme emerge — and it’s not half bad.
What is bad are the verses sung by unabashed bang-sporter and lead singer Dusty Sparkles. If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a million times: Reverb is not the cure for weak pipes. Seriously, the engineer’s decision to employ a wet-to-dry signal ratio of 100:0 makes it sound as though Sparkles is singing into a Radio Shack microphone in the shower. And the disparity in volume between the music and his singing (a) totally obliterates any and all virtuosity that may or may not have taken place, and (b) makes it completely obvious that the vocals were tracked separately. (That wouldn’t be much of a problem if the band weren’t so intent on emphasizing its spontaneous nature.)
The album commences with an exceedingly cool harmonized guitar introduction before settling into a pummeling but repetitive monotone riff. This lackluster guitar work is soon trumped by the aforementioned warbling of Sparkles as well as background shrieks of an unknown origin. As with “Eyes,” “By the Mark” suffers from patently low fidelity. “Quiet Babies Astray in a Manger” features another drawn-out instrumental intro, this time featuring some of the most flagrant Brian May adoration this side of Scissor Sisters. After a minute of such useless toiling, a Styx-like keyboard rhythm appears to usher the band into its very own Kilroy Was Here phase. “Maudie Shook” boogies, makes for the perfect soundtrack to a laser show at the planetarium, and boogies once again, and “Longdance” is just that.
One last temporal complaint: How can an album clocking in at nearly forty-five minutes be considered an EP? Perhaps it’s the band’s music, but it sure as hell feels like a long play.
Label: http://www.kemado.com/Stream: http://www.myspace.com/danava