EP Review: Dazy – ‘OTHERBODY’
Posted: by The Editor
There is a comfortable familiarity to Dazy’s music. A sense that, even on first listen, you’ve somehow heard these songs before — as if Dazy’s songs have always existed in our collective unconscious, waiting for James Goodson to pull them to the forefront. Not in a way that implies Dazy’s music is derivative of its influences, but rather that Goodson has tapped into a particular current of catchy, crunchy rock to produce bite-sized tunes that are as replayable as they are evocative of your favorite high-energy/lo-fi rock and power pop of the past. I believe this familiarity is what Stereogum’s Tom Breihan was getting at when he wrote that “MAXIMUMBLASTSUPERLOUD sounds like a greatest-hits compilation from one of those ’90s bands that signed to a major label after Nirvana but then never blew up even though the songs all kicked ass.” Listening to Dazy, you get the feeling that these songs were floating around amorphously in the ether before Goodson came along to give them shape.
MAXIMUMBLASTSUPERLOUD compiled the first 24 Dazy songs from a handful of early Dazy releases (a few EPs, some singles, and 5 new-at-the-time tracks); releases that were initially put out without the burden of album sequencing or narrowing down a set of tracks. And the songs felt that way — spur of the moment, instantly gripping, and short enough to make you wonder if Goodson wanted to get these songs out in the world before bogging them down with any additional verses. There was a feeling as if something would be lost in the time sitting on these songs. OUTOFBODY, the first Dazy full-length, would prove to be a different beast altogether with Goodson narrowing down his abundance of fuzzed-out rock into a tight ten-song twenty-five minute LP.
When OUTOFBODY came out last fall, Goodson described that different recording process, saying “I definitely had to wrap my head around it a little more. I’d only ever made singles and EPs, and had been enjoying recording and releasing them pretty quickly, so it was a bit of a shift to start thinking of putting together something that was a little more cohesive. It’s hard to put my finger on, but a lot of my favorite records have some structure or feeling that makes them seem like more than just a collection of songs. So a lot of the process — choosing from songs I’d already written, writing more songs, recording the entire time — was me sort of stumbling around in the dark trying to trip over that specific feeling I was looking for.”
Today’s surprise-released OTHERBODY EP takes another stumble into that dark for Goodson to return with a collection of eight new songs from the OUTOFBODY sessions. With the tracks on OTHERBODY falling into similar grooves as the songs on OUTOFBODY, the biggest draw here is simply that there are eight more Dazy songs to listen to (Dazy has yet to make a song that has made me want to hit skip). The quality of these tunes also reflects how deep of a bench Goodson was working with while narrowing down OUTOFBODY to ten tracks, as you could throw any one of the songs on OTHERBODY onto OUTOFBODY without losing what made that record so great. It certainly would be a fun game to resequence the pair together as a double album (“ESTAO” and “AWTCMM?” are obviously connected in at least a superficial way, but would also make a killer one-two punch on the second half of a double album of these tunes).
As it stands on OTHERBODY, “ESTAO” forms a pair with the Footloose-ian “Every Little Thing” on the first half to really blast the EP into the irresistible stratosphere of fuzz and huge hooks that most Dazy songs inhabit. Opener “I Know Nothing At All” feels like the winding of cranks and gears to restart things after “Gone,” the bombastic finale of OUTOFBODY, but things really get going from there with “ESTAO” wrapping up the direct refrain of “I want every single thing at once” in the EP’s most intriguing melody. Pushing past four minutes with a raging guitar solo in the middle, it’s the longest Dazy song — most don’t reach the three-minute mark — and also one of the best.
Appearing as a b-side for the initial single release of “Rollercoaster Ride,” “Peel” is the only song on OTHERBODY that was already out in the world before today. Coming after “Tucked Inside My Head” and “Submarine” pull back some of the energy of the first half, “Peel” instantly springs things back to the driving pace from “Every Little Thing,” and there is a sense of justice in a song as good as “Peel” getting a proper release as its exclusion from the OUTOFBODY tracklist was a bit of a surprise at the time (again, pointing to the quantity of quality tunes Goodson was working with when he put together OUTOFBODY).
OTHERBODY closer “Always In Between” should join “ESTAO” as one of the top songs in Dazy’s discography. Maybe the most rapid and wall-of-sound tune here, it’s easy to see how it was left off of OUTOFBODY, as it would definitely feel more at home on one of the MAXIMUMBLASTSUPERLOUD EPs. At the end of OTHERBODY, it mirrors the energy of “Accelerate” at the end of that MAXIMUMBLASTSUPERLOUD more than it reflects the drawn-out “Gone” that closes OTHERBODY, functioning here as the energetic final track that is so good it practically forces you to hit play again at the top of the record.
More than anything, the release of OTHERBODY points to the consistency in Dazy’s catalog. Returning to that comforting sense of familiarity in Dazy’s music, there’s a sense of knowing what to expect when hitting play on OTHERBODY. But far from feeling formulaic or predictable, these songs are further proof of how well Goodson can pull off everything in Dazy’s bag of tricks, turning the familiar into something fresh and invigorating.
Disappointing / Average / Good / Great / Phenomenal
OTHERBODY is out now with cassettes available via Lame-O Records.
Aaron Eisenreich | @slobboyreject
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