Heading out of Gainsville, Florida – a fertile and artsy corner of the South East US that gave us Less than Jake, Against Me! and Tom Petty no less – and many more – this is the re-release of the debut EP from Dikembe, a slightly geeky but effortlessly credible four piece who have been kicking around the bandcamp space for a couple of years. Stylistically, I guess this is a kind of a mixed bag – floating between and above what some may call emo (clean vocals, chiming guitars, no chugging or screaming), old-school lo-fi (punk in evolutionary origin, but looser and more introspective – think Superchunk or Sebadoh), and post-hardcore (a generic term I’ve never quite got my head around, but that sees widespread usage for this sort of thing – i.e. Texas is the Reason – so I’ll just go with it).
There’s less than ten minutes of noise here, and no one track more than two and half minutes long. There’s no filler, no bar wasted – but somehow they don’t make it seem rushed at all. Full of personality, unobtrusive energy, sticky with anthemic chord structures, catchy and enduring little lyrical hooks, and instrumentally right tight as you like – this is densely packed with stuff for the purist to properly love. Whatever you go for, I reckon this deserves its audience. And I reckon they might get it too – I hear nice things being said about them right across the alt-music press right now.
One of the most endearing things about this – as well as being really rather good – is the understated and esoteric sense of humour. And if it was one thing I never took to about the works of Mascis and Malkmus (who I’m aching to compare this to although that would be to bracket this too tightly) it was their inability to laugh at themselves. The song titles are apparently all corruptions of the names of famous NBA players, fiddled about with to sound like cryptic crossword clues in Stoner magazine – or something like that. Now, this could be really arch and annoying. A marker of the strength and of this is that these guys make this almost Big Lebowski style silliness basically charming.
Quality release from a band of self-evident quality and potential. Bring it on boys. Let’s see what you got next.
4 out of 5 high fives!