Dabble make themselves known with self-released LP.
by LOUIS HUMBERSTONE
There was a time when recording and releasing was the privilege of the music elite. Not so anymore as any wizkid with Garageband and a Soundcloud account can project their musings to the masses. But in such a saturated market, you still have to actually be good to stand out from the crowds.
Dabble started out as a recording project between Daniel Bonilla and David von Hegedus in 2013 and has now evolved into a fully-fledged five piece with members Austin Pacheco, Jordan Fielder and Danielle Evans. Touch is their self-released and debut LP, a dreamscape of cleverly crafted tunes that prove talented songwriters are still out there waiting to be found.
Opening track “Shadowfox” is lush and warm, a welcome greeting into the headspace that Dabble have created. The band hails from Los Angeles and the summery guitars that charge the intro have a way of evoking palm trees and Cali vibes. They seem to take you on a journey as they swell in repetition before the vocals kick in long after the 1:30 mark.
In a completely different direction, “Caramelized” starts off sounding vaguely like muzak (not necessarily a bad thing) before Evans’ voice glides in with a subtle power that shows vocal talent and originality. At times things become fuzzy and wobbly, descending into Psych-Pop, completely with reverb-drenched ghostly backing vocals and stabbing guitar licks.
“Paper Pusher” is an energetic and quirky track that moves away from the laid-back vibes of the album, but keeps along with the reverb and echo in the vocals and guitars. In keeping with its energy, “Paper Pusher” only stays around for just over two minutes before abruptly stopping and leaving you wanting more.
Overall, across Touch, the impression is that Dabble have created an album that embraces diversity, yet manages to maintain a variety of key themes and sounds throughout. Genre mash-ups like Dream Hip-Pop best define them because they seem to exist in their own luscious world of milky ambience, moving rhythms and pulsing synths. At times they recall early Pond or Tame Impala, evoking the same kind of isolation and psychedelia that those two giants of the genre play off. However, at the same time, they are all on their own, working with quality production and arrangement and putting out a stellar effort.
Dabble’s debut LP is an outstanding effort that represents what a good indie release should sound like in 2017. It is contemporary yet timeless, relevant and yet enigmatic and makes for a fascinating listen.