Dog Island brings layers upon layers of tropical textures with their debut EP Lanieakea.
By ANTHEA YANG
Introducing Dog Island: a “tropidelic psyfolk” trio coming straight out of Central Florida. Beginning as a solo project by singer/songwriter/all-round creative human Dave Hanson, Dog Island was birthed from the fascination of new and experimental soundscapes. Their debut EP Laniakea explores exactly that: the five-song EP dips into other worlds.
The opening song, “El Dorado” is a trop-fest with bongos and shakers building an atmosphere of palmy beaches and sun-kissed skin. Throw in loops and samples of static and electronic percussions, “El Dorado” is the perfect concoction of tropicalia. It is breezy personified. Raw and hearty, “Snow Tire”, dives straight into a heavier and quicker beat. With a strong beat and bristled guitar strums backing the tune, Hanson sings of seasons, “losing colour in the sun” and the sorrows of life as a snow globe.
Dog Island strips back a little with the third track “Wine Dark”. But this simple, acoustic shoegaze tune still packs a punch as it transforms into something else entirely in the last minute or so, picking up the speed and beat once again. “Dashes” throws you into a pool of textured samples. The crashing sounds amplified in this song reminisce closely to the crashing of a relationship – “You hate the rain / but your boots hit the gutters / every chance you get / when the river starts to overflow”. “Firefly” closes the EP as the burning light left in the dark. It is a secret adventure that only the listeners are in on. Why be alone, why be alone in the dark…?
The term “Laniakea” means “a huge supercluster of thousands of galaxies”, and in every way, that is what Dog Island and this EP is. This cluster of nostalgia — sounds from your childhood: old Casio keyboards, snippets of AM radio talks, the noise of toys, percussion and shakers — results in a supercluster of melodies, textures and genres.
The love child of Holy ’57 and Mac Demarco, Dog Island’s Laniakea plays out like a long road trip: the excitement, the ease of the open road, the breeze as it trickles through your fingers outstretched, when the wind knots your hair, the feeling of being on the edge of new happenings. There is no going home because home is exactly this moment.