|Album Rating: B+|
If the twinkly emo-influenced movement is the next bandwagon to jump onto, then 2012 looks like a springboard year. And there's no better band for fans rooted in "pop punk's not dead" ethos to get their feet wet with than Dikembe. The band's freshman full-length, Broad Shoulders, bursts with fuzzy guitars, half-shouted vocals and breakneck melodies.
It's no stretch to compare lead singer Steven Gray's vocals to a lo-fi A.J. Perdomo. Like the Dangerous Summer front man, Gray never slacks in his delivery when belting "I Watched a Lot of Jackie Chan Movies," a relentless mid-tempo banger with sparkling guitar riffs. Gray goes full-throttle for most tracks on the record, but that's not to say he's a one-gear singer. He punches in a heartrending performance on "Not Today, Angel," a soft, deliberate track that lets the band's raw passion linger instead of rushing it out after a brief two-minute catharsis.
But the faster the song, the more Dikembe shines. "Librarians Kill For That Kind of Silence" is a blistering tune with high-octane guitar licks, and "Apology Not Fucking Accepted" strips Gray down to his most primal emotions, until listeners realize that when he shouts, "I'm so mad I can't see straight," they have to believe its true. Dikembe's wheelhouse as a band is engineering scorching tracks that work themselves into a frenzy and a guitar enthusiast's wet dream in three minutes or less. So forgive the Gainesville rockers for their one slip-up on the record: "Sorry I Can't Stick Around." It kicks off with thumping bass grooves and angsty guitars, but tails off as its seven minute length sinks in. Sure, it pads out the album's paltry half-hour run-time, but paring down the closer wouldn't have been a bad idea.
The Twinkle Daddies ascension into mainstream appeal is, for right now, just a hypothetical discussion. But once the genre explodes from garage shows to selling out bigger stages, bet on Dikembe being comfortably at the forefront.
Download "We Could Become River Rats" for free on our compilation Dizcovering Muzik: Volume Two
1. Nothing. Stuff.
2. Apology Not Fucking Accepted
3. I Watch A Lot Of Jackie Chan Movies
4. We Could Become River Rats
5. I Just Don't Understand What All These Kids Dig About Him
6. Not Today, Angel
7. Librarians Would Kill For That Kind of Quiet
8. That's How What Works
9. I'm Gonna Deck Your Halls, Bub!
10. Sorry I Can't Stick Around