Release Date: Apr 9, 2013
Record label: Hub Records
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Contemporary Pop/Rock, American Trad Rock, Alternative Country-Rock, Roots Rock
"When you talk about me/Do you stick to the memories?" singer-guitarist-songwriter Taylor Goldsmith asks in "Just Beneath the Surface," a song about hidden identity that starts his band's third album. It is also a perfect question to ask about the music on this quietly gripping, deceptively gleaming record. Dawes are natural experts at vintage allure: the precise twang and breezy introspection of Seventies California rock.
DawesStories Don’t End(Hub Records)Rating: 4 out of 5 starsStream the album Dawes’ Taylor Goldsmith is one of those songwriters who are almost preternaturally self-aware about the pitfalls in life and the self-delusions and innate flaws that lead one there, yet his characters keep falling into those traps. That’s a good thing for his craft, because he’ll never run out of fodder for his meticulously-crafted lyrics that way. On Stories Don’t End, Dawes’ highly-anticipated third album, the bulk of Goldsmith’s ruminations and recriminations have to do with matters of the heart, making it a kind of concept album about the distance between the ideals of love and the stark reality of modern relationships.
Known for their ’70s Laurel Canyon–inspired sound, Dawes prove that there’s more to them than blissful harmonies and laidback folk tunes. Here, the boys wail with crunchy guitar riffs on “Most People,” while the bouncy, groove-driven “From A Window Seat” demonstrates they aren’t afraid to experiment with new song stylings. Add Taylor Goldsmith’s majestic storytelling to the mix and the result confirms there are few bands that can mix past and progress like these fellas.
Ever since 2009’s North Hills, Dawes has been lauded for their throwback Laurel Canyon sound. Most bands would be content with a small niche and marginal success given the onerous terrain of the music biz, but this Los Angeles-based quintet strives to convey a contemporary tone on their third studio LP, Stories Don’t End. Though Dawes gravitates toward gushy guitar solos and lush three-part harmonies, they’re hardly outdated.
With Stories Don’t End, their third studio album, Dawes aimed to break free from their pigeonholed place in popular music. They’ve been branded ‘70s rock throwbacks: chasing the open-highway Laurel Canyon churn of Jackson Browne, the expansive vocal harmonies of CSNY, the deep-pocket punch of The Band. And that’s a sound that’s served them well: In 2013, they’re the torch-carriers of this old-fashioned sound—even if they don’t want to be.
Stories Don't End, the third outing from breezy Los Angeles-based retro-rockers Dawes, takes its name from a line in author Joan Didion's 1984 wartime novel Democracy. It's an enigmatic phrase to be sure, but it certainly applies to the group's penchant for crafting highly literate slabs of smooth, West Coast Americana out of the highway wreckage left behind by artists like the Eagles, the Little River Band, Poco, Jackson Browne, and Gram Parsons. Less overtly Laurel Canyon-centric than 2011's Nothing Is Wrong, due in some part to the East Coast Blue Ridge Mountain locale in which it was birthed, the album keeps the band's classic rock underpinnings intact, yielding a fresh catch of smooth and soulful, largely midtempo offerings that focus on substance over style, relying primarily on the strength of the tasteful, measured arrangements and bandleader Taylor Goldsmith's easy voice and crafty wordplay.
Despite having a name that forces you to spell it aloud lest everyone assumes you’ve just discovered Jim Morrison, LA’s jaunty Americana-peddling mates of Mumford have made it to their third album. Working with Kings Of Leon producer Jacquire King, ‘Stories Don’t End’ is smoother than a drive down to Malibu with the Eagles chilling in the back seat. So if it’s earthy fireside folk you’re craving, you’d best look elsewhere, because the harmony-steeped likes of ‘From A Window Seat’, Blake Mills cover ‘Hey Lover’ and yearning highlight ‘Most People’ are all about retro, grit-free Hollywood gloss.Leonie Cooper .
Dawes have made a name for themselves the old fashioned way, the way you thought just did not happen in the music industry any more. After changing their name and approach from the more modern rock-minded Simon Dawes, the Los Angeles quartet released North Hills in 2009. Thereafter, North Hills received well-deserved word-of-mouth popularity, and the band matched it with constant touring, regular releases, and a down-to-earth, unpretentious approach to their music and their fans.
To change things up a bit, Dawes got away from its Southern California homebase to record in Asheville, N.C. There's some growth evident, but third disc Stories Don't End doesn't really take the quartet that far from its trademark Seventies, life-in-Laurel-Canyon sound. New influences are evident in the anthemic jangle of "Most People," which recalls the Jayhawks, while the title track reaches back to the Sixties for its folk-rock vibe.
Taylor Goldsmith holds no secrets. His influences, his emotions and his perspective are all wrapped in his sincere delivery as the front man and songwriter for Dawes, and it’s that earnest equation that has garnered them a significant spotlight after just two albums. From his fireside storytelling to his penchant for 70s soft rock, Goldsmith puts it all out there – despite what the cynics might say.