Release Date: Jun 12, 2012
Record label: Bar/None
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock
In the early Eighties, these New Wave Southern boys reanimated the Beatles as magnolia-scented power pop, setting the table for R.E.M. The original dB's haven't recorded in 30 years, but Peter Holsapple and fellow hook maven Chris Stamey remain masters of stately jangle, and their writing now has a reflective depth that makes for music that's wise ("She Won't Drive in the Rain Anymore"), as well as crafty. Click to listen to The dB's 'Falling Off The Sky': Related• Album Premiere: The dB's 'Falling Off The Sky' .
If you’ve been a fan of the seminal ‘80s jangle pop outfit the dB’s, you’ve been waiting a very long time for a new album. And waiting. And waiting. And waiting. In fact, Falling Off the Sky is the first new disc from the group in a quarter century, and the first long player to feature the ….
People change. That's an inevitable fact of life, and nothing to be feared, but it does make for a real dilemma when a band that's been out of commission for a while decides to reunite and go back into the recording studio. Maybe they're the same folks who worked well together back in the day, but will they sound the same, or interact in the same way? That's the bugaboo about Falling Off the Sky, which is the first new album from the dB's since 1987, and the first to feature the original lineup of Chris Stamey, Peter Holsapple, Gene Holder, and Will Rigby since Repercussion in 1982.
It’s like they never left. All the original members of this 80s power pop cult band have returned (along with longtime friends Mitch Easter and Scott Litt) to sling out another dozen perfectly crafted ringing nuggets that pick up where1982’s “Repercussion,” the last album that featured the original lineup, left off. This one was recorded leisurely over the past seven years since the band reformed for a short reunion tour in 2005.
It starts with an admonition: "You better wake up, that time is gone." It ends with a promise not to return. If the founding members of power-pop quartet the dB's regrouped for their first album in 30 years with a modicum of confidence, you wouldn't think it from the album's lyrics. These are bittersweet songs of experience: reflective, sorrowful, mourning lost places, faces and times.
Nineteen-eighties jangle lost its godfather with the retirement of R.E.M. in 2011, but it regained a venerable distant cousin to the Athens, GA greats with the reunion of The dB's. Falling Off the Sky, the act's sixth LP and their first in nearly 20 years, is astonishingly the first to feature co-frontman Chris Stamey alongside ex-R.E.M. sideman Peter Holsapple since the former's acrimonious departure subsequent to 1982's Repercussion.
Opening your first album in nearly 20 years with a song called "That Time Is Gone" is either bracingly honest or immensely foolhardy-- or possibly both. On Falling Off the Sky, the dB's invoke their long-ago heyday and acknowledge that they'll never be young again. "Better wake up, wake up, wake up, that time is gone!" Peter Holsapple exhorts the listener over a modified Nuggets garage groove.
In terms of the grand musical historiography, a dB’s resurgence is around par with that Feelies reunion in terms of pure necessity. A mostly forgotten group of oddball innovators with two albums of slick, power-pop firepower breathlessly adored in record-clerk circles—it felt like a flashbang even at their prime. They rolled loose and liquid out of North Carolina, specializing in indelible, insect-reflex guitar hooks out of the forever-frantic Peter Holsapple.
Falling Off the Sky is the first album in over 30 years from the original dB’s lineup and marks the re-unification of the Chris Stamey and Peter Holsapple songwriting team. Their initial partnership resulted in Stands for Decibels and Repercussions, a pair of records definitive of early ‘80s power-pop. Idiosyncratic songwriters in their own right, Stamey pulled from the off-kilter pop sensibilities of Alex Chilton, while Holsapple foiled that experimentalism with catchy ditties like “Bad Reputation”.