Dangaru – S/T EP


If forced to define Dangaru for you (which I suppose I am), I’d have to label them a bar band. That’s by no means a derogatory term. There are fewer things more fun when drinking than experiencing an energetic live band in a small bar. Even better if that band has some talent. For two years, my friends and I followed a band that I’d have to define as a bar band in Virginia and Maryland.
But the best bar bands are enjoyed in their element – the bar, with a beer in hand and a slight buzz. On album, they come off sounding either uninspired or unoriginal. And that’s because, frankly, they are not especially original. Sure, they’re playing original tunes, but the music is the same as most of the other bar bands you’ve heard.
That’s where Dangaru falls: talented and energetic but unoriginal. Slightly edgy guitar rock with plenty of power chords and bits of vocals from every member. They don’t sound like they’re trying quite hard enough to do anything fresh or outstanding, but they pull off five short, punchy rock songs pretty easily. These aren’t bad songs, and with a beer and a buzz, I’d probably be enthusiastic. As it is, I’m not enthused.
“Take Me Out” starts off with some power guitar chords and doesn’t really go anywhere, although the guitar does have a slightly clunky sound that brings to mind bands like early Kinks or The Embarrassment. There’s a bit more of an edge to “Swingset,” which also has a more funky bass line throughout. “Found Out” tries to get a bit more poppy, with some backing “ooo-ooo” vocals and more drawled out guitars, but I’m left thinking of bands like 3 Doors Down rather than Elvis Costello, who they compared themselves to. “Firefly” has a different lead singer, and the vocals work better here, as well as a wash of feedback-drenched guitars, finally lending this band the edge and attitude they need. But give up the attempt at lightening the song and go with it, because some melodic guitar and lighter rhythms give the song a wishy-washy feel. “Panic” closes with a more classic rock feel, again evoking early Kinks material, especially in the high-pitched vocals and crisp, clean guitar lines. This is probably the catchiest track here.
Again, nothing special, but nothing for the band to be ashamed of either. This music will pass in one ear and out the other. But it might be welcome if I was less coherent and downing a good porter.