Well Done, High Five (Dragonette, Royal Blues review)

It’s pretty damn glorious when a band can remain consistent without ever getting stale, but the real challenge comes in when you know they just might be phoning it in. When do you host and intervention? The kind that generates hugs and high fives afterwards?

Dragonette – Royal Blues
released November 11, 2016
****** 6/10

dragonetteroyalbluescover

Dragonette is a Canadian electronic music band that got their start way way back in 2005. The band is a three piece, which consists of singer-songwriter Martina Sorbara, bassist and producer Dan Kurtz, and drummer Joel Stouffer.

Reminiscent of acts like Tegan and Sara, Scissor Sisters, Paramore, Metric and Peaches, I personally first learned of the group way back in 2007. Which was also the time that I Get Around was getting around the internet and what I think eventually landed them a Juno nomination for New Group of the Year a year later.

But you didn’t come here for me to go over my experiences with Dragonette when I was but a young hipster. No you want the goods, the stuff, the real deal.

Well I will say this.

Dragonette is still making enjoyable synthpop. And apparently I’ma sucker for good pop music, or even mediocre synthpop for that matter. Doesn’t seem to make much sense if you really think about it. I’ve listened to some great albums this year, and hell, I’m still thinking about Grimes Angel Art almost a year later, but Sorbara just has an amazing voice that is well automated for our Canadian sensibilities. Now, it’s not groundbreaking by any means, but I can definitely hear Sweet Poison and Darth Vader being run in some indie clubs around town.

You remember how Disney sing-alongs were a big thing in the 1990s for kids? Well if you’re younger than 25 I’m betting no, but my point is this. Dragonette is part of a strong lineage of EDM infused music that makes you want to scream and shout or even rock your body casually with the occasional hair flip and exasperated sigh. Whatever your jam, these guys and gal get it.

And that’s the point I’m really wanting to make about this record. It is overwhelming pop, but its quite broad in it’s tactics. For instance, the single Body 2 Body has dreampop elements which remind me of Purity Ring, sort of all encompassing synesthesia that vibrates right through you, while the preceding Let The Night Fall is comforting much like a cool summer ride with friends after a day at the beach, the mall, or headed to the middle of a crowded downtown on a Friday night. It builds upon itself slowly, asking you to slowly raise your arms in anthemic fanfare.

It’s a challenge for sure, but I’m willing to bet this trio is making their way out of the weird and niche culture of trying to be interesting, moving into the realm of eclectic and fun, and to be clear, it suits them well. I think they need to let their hair down just a bit more and Dragonette will get to where they should be headed.

 

 

 

Don’t get me wrong. I still think Dragonette are relevant and much needed in our ever-changing Canadian landscape of music and culture. They bring a good vibe in what sometimes feels like dark times. Put this record on and feel good about stuff friends, after all there is nothing wrong with a good set of lyrics and a clean melody. It’ll sooth a soul. But that’s just a theory.

Tim!

 

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