Review : Dala - Best Day
Rough StockMost of the time, Dala sounds like a more acoustic Tegan & Sara and much smarter Wilson Phillips throughout this pair’s album, Best Day. Comprised of Sheila Carabine and Amanda Walther, these two Canadian singer/songwriters from Scarborough, Ontario harmonize beautifully on an 11-song collection. It’s 11, that is, if you exclude the silly outtake, “Too Many Kittens,” which comes off like one of those drunken Replacements covers, when the band was too drunk to play songs all the way through without messing up or cracking up, and just too wasted to care.
These pretty looking and lovely sounding girls show off their intelligence particularly on two of these tracks. One is “Lennon and McCartney,” which alludes to a relationship where the girl digs Paul McCartney, of course because he’s the more romantic side of that Beatles team, while the guy goes more for brainy John. This guy is an oddball character. He takes her dancing, but doesn’t dance himself. He’s also a bit of a record collector. “He buys records for the virgin vinyl/I scratch ‘I love you’ in the grooves,” they sing, naughtily. The song is sung over a lighthearted, plunk-y piano groove. ...full text
Album ReviewsIn a relatively short time, Sheila Carabine and Amanda Walthers, of the Canadian duo Dala, have established themselves as one of the brightest rising stars of the pop-folk circuit.
On their second release with Compass Records, Best Day, the duo has achieved a new level of maturity in both their abilities as songwriters and integrity of presentation. Vaguely reminiscent of fellow Canadian, Feist, and with echoes of Leonard Cohen’s lyric sensibilities, Dala presents a set of tracks that are empowering and optimistic but not without a quiet mourning for the past and the impossible....full text
All MusicThis Canadian duo has achieved major success on the folk-pop circuit by simple means: nice melodies, tight harmonies, and a warm and approachable style. On their fifth album, however, that style starts getting dangerously close to gauzy -- and if they aren't careful, they run the risk of becoming insubstantial. The problem isn't that their lyrics are shallow; their songs mostly deal with predictable subjects (first love, social cliques, romantic bemusement) but they do so fairly elegantly and at times they make artful use of genuinely startling and slippery imagery ("Virginia Woolf," "Peggy"). The problem is, first of all, that almost every song on Best Day is soporifically slow and quiet, and second, that both their sound and their songs' messages sometimes border on childishly simple: the slightly off-key piano that plinks around on "Lennon & McCartney," the junior-high yearbook philosophy of "Best Day," the stacked cliches and enervated Indigo Girls vibe of "Life on Earth." There are moments when this approach works very well (such as on the whisperingly lovely "Still Life") and there are moments when the energy level rises nicely (such as on the gently swinging "Great Escape"). But those moments are a bit too few and far between....full text
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