DYGL: Songs of Innocence & Experience

>> Conceived in 2012, DYGL is a most-interesting indie-rock outfit hailing from Tokyo, Japan. The group’s sound spans a variety of tones and textures, and this week, on the 3rd of July, they plan on releasing their second studio album - 'Songs of Innocence & Experience.'

The Good: Variety can impact an album in a handful of ways. To DYGL’s benefit, this record wall-to-wall shows its smorgasbord of influences and sounds as versatility, all clamoring for your ears’ attention. Tracks like "Only You" bleed more vulnerable, where those like "Bad Kicks" contribute to a more decisively badass ethos. There is at least something for your ears - given whichever mood - to cling on to. This, alongside some invariably solid production, makes for an aimless headway as you make your morning commute.

Speaking to this record’s versatility, each track on this album truly feels like its own delegate for a different space or scene within the overarching behemoth the “indie/alt rock” category has become. Tracks like “Bad Kicks” sound - sometimes for the worst, in my opinion - almost derivative of The Strokes, The Hives, or even a little bit like Franz Ferdinand in an attempted representation of the early-to-mid 2000s indie rock scene. This track, in particular, falls a little short of its inspiration but some really reach an interesting approximation. In other ways, tracks on the record really gun for a punchy Brit-rock sound that’s not a mere copy-cat but a captivating melange of DYGL’s Japanese rock scene and the U.K. inspiration.

Amidst the representation of varying indie scenes within this one record, it is the most disarming and vulnerable voice that strikes me the hardest. With tender numbers like “Nashville” and “Only You”, the band reveals a side to them that has far more depth and interest than the gritty, noisy punch of their amped-up tracks.

The Bad: In lieu of such versatility and varied sonic ability, this record is certainly unfocused to a degree. Where some tracks produce soft and very listenable moments, much of the record both thematically and sonically is in a space of unfinished-ness for me. Now don’t get me wrong - these tracks sound good, but not completed. Some of this is to blame on the haphazardly repeated lyrics - not so much for effect but to fill space. I feel that many of the tracks riff on a comfortably enjoyable tune to mindlessly move your head and feet to - perhaps a great car record - but in the avenue of deep listening or a studied analysis of current times or issues very little. This is a fact I would not hold against the record unless the title didn’t lend itself to this suggestion. A collection of 'Songs of Innocence and Experience' should tell stories more personable and impactful - a sensation I only truly feel for a minority of tracks. The tracks I do get this from, however, were very satisfying.

The review: DYGL is following the best practices for the exploration of creative sound; drawing from inspiration, and at that, a diverse wealth of it. To me, it is rather unimportant ultimately who they sound like in lieu of the emotive quality they articulate through those influences. The varied sonic approach to this album leaving me very curious for what is in store for the band’s sound in the future. As stated, it is the tender and slow tracks on this record that leave a lasting impression on me. Perhaps DYGL just needs to embrace the contemplative edge of its many sounds. 3.3/5 <<

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