Review ·

Since the band's sudden ascent to blog stardom last March, Dom has come off as a sort of meta-buzzband, deliriously exploding the cliches and conventions associated with internet fame. Every buzzband needs a backstory, and Dom's doesn't dissapoint: the band's mononymous (and eponymous) frontman was allegedly given up for adoption because of his red hair. Every buzzband needs a high-profile collaboration; Dom elected to go with freakin' Gucci Mane. And, inevitably, every buzzband needs to get signed. Dom didn't mess with Matador or Frenchkiss--no, it shot straight for the majors. Family of Love, the group's second EP, is coming at us via Astralwerks--subsidiary of EMI.

That major label money would seem to be going to good use. Where the group's debut EP was blown-out and perpetually on the brink of collapse, Family of Love is subtle and clearly delineated. On a song like "Telephone," each instrument gets room to breath--including a literal telephone, used as a sort of primitive keyboard.

It would seem, initially, that Dom has matured in an impressively short span of time. "Telephone" and "Family of Love," which open this mostly fillerless EP, are not as eager as most Sun Bronzed Greek Gods tracks were to reach for the anthemic; a song like "Family of Love," especially, seems content to just lazily float along, accumulating detail along the way.

Of course, the band that built its name on "Living in America"--a song so gloriously dumb it probably made Andrew W.K. jealous--isn't going to give up the frat-rocking shtick that easily. The lyrics to the glam-tinged "Happy Birthday Party" could've been written by a 5-year-old, or the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: "Time to get gnarly!" "Ain't nothin' more fun than a birthday part-ay!" If it's irony, then it's irony so infectious and over-the-top that it crosses into earnest genius.

"Some Boys" also toes the line between guilelessness and irony. With its unknown female vocalist (listed simply as "Emma") singing slightly-skewed ''60s-isms ("Other boys just want to fuck me!"), it sounds like a Cults parody as orchestrated by Kate Bush. It's also significantly better than anything Cults has released so far--and that's including that band's collaboration with Dom earlier this year.

The only things linking these disparate, uniformly excellent songs is the fact that most of them bleed into each other. Family of Love is joyously schizophrenic; it's clear that Dom has no urge to be pinned down. Because once you're pinned down--once what you do can be summarized in one dismissive sentence--you're just another one-note buzzband. "I don't wanna be like any of those loser buzzbands that just fizzle out," Dom told us earlier this year. With Family of Love, Dom hasn't fizzled out--it's flowered in five different directions. 


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