Dorias Baracca: Dorias Baracca (Azure Vista Records, 2018)
Dorias Baracca’s Self-Titled album almost didn’t see the light of day. Formed in 2007 in Denmark, the band came to an abrupt end when Buster Svendsen, the lead singer, main song writer, and guitar player, passed away suddenly in 2011. He died the same day that the album was completed. Seven years later, Azure Vista Records has released the Self-Titled album containing seven tracks which are dreamy, melodic, and contain huge walls of sound. Each track is strong and single-worthy, with incredible song-writing and ear worm melodies. Dorias Baracca would have been a huge band in the dreampop scene for sure but now this album acts as a record, a historical archive of the band’s greatness. Thanks should be extended to Azure Vista Records, and Jonas Munk, for putting this incredible album out into the world. Aske Wolfhagen, Jeppe Nygaard, and Simon Skytthe are the remaining members of Dorias Baracca and, I have to say, they were a part of something incredible.
“Handsome Melting Point” launches this self-titled album with snare pounding in the speakers. This gives way to dreamy guitars and beautifully constructed bass and drums. There is a dreampop sensibility here ala Slowdive but it’s not necessarily as quiet or as serene. There is an angst as guitars explode momentarily. I will say this: “Handsome Melting Point” gives one the impression that they are in for a very special album and it would not be a wrong assumption. Svendsen’s vocals hypnotize and everything about this track funnels greatness. This is a dreampop masterpiece of a song and the album contains many. As the fuzzed out, whirling guitars fade, “Dean & Dane” explodes into the speakers with whispering vocals and chiming guitars. There is an addictive psyche-gaze feel here, with a depth in the drumming and bass work that rarely appears in these sorts of bands. In “Dean & Dane”, there is a mixture of Beach Boys, Slowdive, and a certain unmistakable magic that Svendsen infused in this band.
“Fed” is a big guitar track, with looming layers of strumming guitar and brilliantly subtle transitions. There is still that dreamy end of shoegaze we all liken to dreampop, but there is a grit here as well. Swirling and enigmatic, Svendsen and company weave a long-form spell over the listener with “Fed”. “Shaky Dreams (You and Me Forever)” is a mescaline fueled dream piece. Floating over frenetic high hat, vocals drift in and out of a river of guitars that drip and swirl. It’s the sort of track you turn up loud, turn out all the lights in the room, lay down on the bed and close your eyes, and just lose yourself. It’s brilliant on every level. “Another Day (Without Shoes)” continues with a relentless reverb drenched vocal and amorphous guitar lines. The drums and bass are the only things keeping the stitches together here and it’s wonderful. There are moments when the bass and drums come up in the mix to take the song over, giving it an extra moment of depth. Then, just as they came to the fore, they sink back into the dreamy mire.
“Goodbye”, a poignant title in retrospect, is a hazy, guitar screeching affair. There’s a touch of early post-punk here, with the likes of Jesus and the Mary Chain, The Cure, and others being channeled. The drum beats are urgent and ponderous, and the guitar pulls at the timing. It’s the longest track on the album, and it is certainly worth every second. The finale to the album is the energetic “Wake Me Up (With a Kiss)”. It begins with thunderous guitars and then peals back the throng and a slower sound emerges, with the vocals recessed in the mix. “Wake Me Up (With a Kiss)”is an uplifting, driving track that finishes the album with great aplomb.
I have to say that Dorias Baracca’s self-titled debut contains seven amazing songs that I am so glad weren’t buried or left behind. Even though the album was recorded in 2011, it sounds fresh and really is deep and mature. While the story behind the album’s delay is sad, the band’s legacy, while short in terms of the amount of time they had together, is incredibly impressive. Dorias Baracca’s debut album should be on a lot of top lists this year. If it’s not, people are just not paying attention.
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