Dawes - Stories Don't End (Review)
Review by Jack Foley
COMPARISONS with The Eagles have greeted the Dawes with each of their two previous albums and release No.3 only looks set to further them.
Yet the LA-based outfit seem to have embraced this on Stories Don’t End, another slickly produced collection of soft rocks tracks with a country twang.
Produced by Jacquire King (whose credits include Tom Waits, Kings of Leon and Norah Jones), and recorded in North Carolina, this is an album rooted in classic songwriting qualities and structures, but also one that strangely struggles to engage as a whole.
Perhaps it’s that the soft rock focus feels a little too safe and sedate. But Stories Don’t End often feels as long and rambling as this name suggests.
Vocalist Taylor Goldsmith brings a soulful quality to the lyrics that are by turns wistful (Just Beneath The Surface) and reflective (Just My Luck), but which rarely display any edge.
Just occasionally, when they pick up the pace, Dawes’ latest offering gets on a roll. From A Window Seat embodies both classic Eagles and Dire Straits with a toe-tapping back-beat and some good guitar work, with Goldsmith finding a more lively delivery.
And Hey Lover has a vibrancy that’s sorely lacking elsewhere, emerging as a summer anthem of sorts, or even a driving anthem (but still of the soft rock variety).
Most People, on the other hand, drops an opening hook that suggests another harder sound. But it then drifts into the type of song that Chris DeBurgh might be proud of, while the pace becomes positively sleepy on Something in Common.
Other tracks simply drift from the memory as quickly as they arrive… save for Someone Will and Side Effects, two slower tracks that do, at least, possess something in their guitar work and delivery to make them stand out too.
Stretched out over the course of the LP as a whole, though, the leisurely pace makes for a largely unsatisfying journey. It’s accomplished, for sure. But it’s a little too safe.
Download picks: From A Window Seat, Someone Will, Hey Lover, Side Effects