‘Dad Jams’ is a retrospective look at life’s trajectory and the personal and creative choices that shape its convoluted path. Musically, it retains the adventurous, experimental edge of previous Thee More Shallows albums, but is also rooted in a stronger pop sensibility, with plenty of bouncy, hooky melodies that burrow into the mind for days.
Speaking on his intervening years between Thee More Shallows’ last album ‘Book Of Bad Breaks’ and ‘Dad Jams’, Dee said, “For me, that meant raising kids, making music for TV and film, and incrementally earning some hard-won peace of mind. My body has (to quote my doctor sister) sclerosed, and my impulses have slowed down enough to do a weak impersonation of wisdom, but I still feel like the same person who helped make those old records.”
‘Dad Jams’ is an indie-pop ode to waking up middle aged with kids. First single ‘Ancient Baby’ rockets the album open with an invigorating blast of psychedelic hippy-infused pop, its weaving flute refrain becoming more and more embedded in the mind with each return. ‘Boogie Woogie’ builds around a restrained synth groove that surprises and delights with crystalline harmonies in the sort of way bands like Foster The People and The Temper Trap combine sensitive emotive themes in a tightly packed indie formula.
On creating the new album Dee explains, “So when I finally found time to eke out another collection of songs – in the thick of my ‘dad’ years – I asked Brian, Jason, and Tadas if I could use our old band name. They graciously said yes. Jason flew out and was able to contribute wonderful drums, Cosmos Lee visited and played violin – and as usual I did my level best to describe how I felt. There are also new characters – my friends Eddie and Laura Burke sing on a song, Silviolini Graciani makes his debut, phoning in all the way from Sicily – and you get to hear the voice of Rayel, an epic talent deserving of world-renown.”
Elsewhere on the album the catchy warped acoustic melodies of ‘Drinking Tang’ expand into bubbly synths and ice-cream sweet reflective heart-tugging goodness, and ‘Hey, Come On!’ moves more sparsely with a distant drum machine under pinning melancholic lyrics. Each track on this record unfurls in its own way, like little episodes in parenthood with more and more sonic gems to find on each listen.
‘Dad Jams’ is probably the coolest album anyone’s ever written about fatherhood. The album’s playful melting pot of sounds combines eccentric experimentation with perfect epic pop moments, achieving the mysterious feat of merging electronic, experimental and indie rock genres seamlessly for an intriguing set of incredibly engaging earworms.
‘Dad Jams’ will be available on CD and digital formats from 28th May 2021, as well as a limited edition vinyl LP (200 copies on 180 g white vinyl), which can be ordered from Monotreme Records here.
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