Delta Dart – Fight or Flight

Delta Dart
Fight or Flight

You may think that the riot-grrl movement from Olympia, Washington, as exemplified by Sleater-Kinney, Bikini Kill, and Bratmobile is dead, but good rock sounds never die. Fans of women singing – loudly – about guys and sex and rock will like Delta Dart from the first. But despite their similarities to bands like Sleater-Kinney, Delta Dart is different.
The main difference is the instrumentation. Many of their songs are blazing guitar-driven songs, riding angular rhythms and off-kilter changes, but the band is similarly comfortable getting more sincere and honest and singing to acoustic guitars and a more folky feel. That contrast makes the band stand out, and they similarly contrast their vocals. Amber Bayer and Sissy Chrome sing on each song, often the same words, harmonizing together, and yet just as often different words, playing off each other. It’s a contrast that other bands from the area have done but seldom as often and intensively.
The band is perhaps best and most accessible when the rip out the blazing guitar-rock songs. The best and most catchy song starts off the album, and you’ll be singing along to the chorus of “I like to rock! As much as you do. Bah-bah-bah-bah” on “Punkrock-icity” in no time. “Don’t Go Away” is funny and catchy with keyboards adding a bouncy backdrop to the loud garage-rock guitars. One singer is uttering “I might like you better if we slept together,” while the other is singing loudly “Don’t go away!” But songs like “Middle Name” and “Leeds, 1995” are better rock songs, using stronger guitar work and more traditional vocal styles. There’s too much guitar, though, on “It’s Time to Go,” as the thick guitar lines drown out both vocalists.
When the band goes more acoustic, they get a bit softer, and the vocals are a tad less abrasive. The soft and sensitive “Let’s Go to Bed” features those dual vocals over deep acoustic guitar. Piano and strings fill out “Do You Have Any?” beautifully, turning it into more of a ballad. The vocals soar over a sparse guitar line on “Half Hearted Storm,” and the guitar shines – clear and precise and folky – on the moody yet intense “Story of My Life.” Another stellar track, “Hold This Girl Down” is drums and piano, the singing singular and the song more immediately accessible.
This album has a lo-fi feel, yet the production is tight. It just feels … airy, I guess. You can pick out each guitar and drum beat, and there’s no studio effects muddling them up. It’s just straight-ahead rock, and at times that quality seems a bit strange, but it works for them. As all three women have played in other bands from the area, they have the talent and songwriting abilities to go far. On this, the second album from Delta Dart, they deliver a fun blast of riot-grrrl rock.