woensdag 17 april 2019

Here's The 101 On How To Disappear. Dakota

At a showcase show celebrating the graduation of guitarist Jasmine van der Waals from the Amsterdam Conservatory before the summer of 2018 Dakota impressed yours truly with the music and songs played. A short conversation with bass player Lana Kooper learned that an album was in the making and planned for the winter. The album is there, unfortunately Dakota is, perhaps forever, on hold due to mental problems of singer Lisa Brammer. What is left, at least for now, is the music. It is only released digitally and that is such a shame.

Having seen the band live without knowing anything about them, I noticed that the band and the singer seemed different entities. Something that stood out somehow. At the time I did not give further notice to it. The whole impression was simply too good. Three great musicians and beautiful singing. Dakota impressed on stage as a whole.

Fast forward to Here's The 101 On How To Disappear. Within a few minutes it is clear to me that Dakota falls into line with Warpaint, the all lady U.S. band and specifically its lightest of songs 'Love Is To Die'. When all is said and done the only song of Warpaint that really, truly matters. The fact that Dakota brings this song to mind, regularly, is a bellwether for the album.

It does not stay that good in general. I will get back to that later. First let's focus on the strong points of the album. The opening songs find a fine balance between alternative rock and pop. The effects on the guitar give the sound the impression of rain being swept through a wind-blown street. A sheet of rain. The light voice of Brammer mixes extremely well with Jasmine van der Waals' sheet of guitar sounds. The chorus is light in sound and lifts the album up. 'Four Leave Clover', 'Sorry', 'Quick Fix' all have this mix and are extremely pleasant to listen to.

From these three songs it is clear that Dakota was ready for the international competition of Warpaint and some other bands reviewed on this blog in the past years that have come and gone. "Dreaming of other skies", to quote T.H. White, is what some of the songs sound like. I am not included in the dream, they're not meant for me. Only to listen at from a great distance. Which is totally o.k. and a privilege at that. Without coming close so much musically nor voice, Lana del Rey does come to mind in some songs. The indirect directness as heard on 'Ultraviolence' can be heard on this album in abundance.

Unfortunately just like all these bands Dakota does not keep my attention for 13 songs. For that the atmosphere is too one-sided and as soon as one of the songs does not make the grade of the opening set, my mind wanders off. What remains is a unique mood that lies over Here's The 101 On How To Disappear. Here Dakota does not falter nor waver. The rhythm section of Lara Kooper and Annemarie van den Born always has the foundation. Where the music is in need of a deep end, they take care of it. It is Van der Waals who sets the mood with her guitar playing and effects. Over it all Lisa Brammer only has to lay down her soft sounding voice to top a song off.

By the time all has been said an done and the album listened to repeatedly, Dakota comes out winning. The good to great songs win out easily to the few that do less so. With the inventive playing that is found in each and every song with on top the oh so nice voice of Brammer it is easy to succumb to Dakota.

Whatever happens next for Dakota is up somewhere in the stars, not for us to see. My well meant advice is to look for a solution, even if it is drastic. Life presents only a few chances and what you have here is simply too good to totally let go. So go for that temporary substitute, let the world hear what you can do and take it from there.


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