Review : Dent May - Do Things
PitchforkBelieve it or not, there was a time when a screen-printed Fruit of the Loom t-shirt was all you could hope for from an artist's merchandise stall. Now we have Grimes' pussy rings, a Wavves' weed grinder, and a Dent May's SPF lip balm. Dent May's choice of totem feels particularly apt when listening to his latest record. If you're young and carefree then Do Things is the kind of record you want constantly at your side as a crowd-pleasing soundtrack to the summer. Its 10 songs make for an instantly welcoming, easy spin, with each hook borrowing deeply into you head thanks more to persistence than any particular potency.
The chorus of "Fun" feels like the record's quick-beating heart: "I don't know what's in store for me, but I think it's gonna be fun." That youthful sentiment is a long way from the angst of getting older, or worrying about the economy; instead Dent May just wants to kick back with major chords and party. He's even ditched his magnificent ukelele. In its place are spritely synths, airy acoustic guitars, and hints of psychedelia.
May's croon is still his best weapon and his well-laced harmonies help elevate much of the material here. At times he sounds uncannily like Brian Wilson, and the music of the Beach Boys looms large over the record. On "Tell Her", May seems to be sight-reading an only partially scrambled Wilson chord sequence. Alongside swooning, lilting harmonies, May's light smattering of electronics and synthesizers do just enough work to update the scene. That combination of sounds makes for a formula that May mines carefully on each track: "Best Friend" and "Don't Wait Too Long" both boast a little funk, but for much of Do Things May finds his range and sticks with it....full text
TheowlmagDent May has laid his magnificent ukulele to rest and instead taken up with a synthesizer on his newest full length, Do Things.
Although a synthesizer’s no theremin, Dent May is completely channeling the Beach Boys on this sophomoric effort. From May’s swinging, layered and overextend singing to his eccentric hints of psychedelic instrumentation, Do Things is a Mississippi boy’s version of Pet Sounds.
Somewhat similar to that of Brian Wilson, May composed and recorded the album entirely on his own. But instead of chasing after California girls, May’s content in middle America — “Don’t want to move to Southern California, I wasn’t really meant for LA,” he sings on the closing track “Home Groan.”
Despite that, it’s still easy to make a song for song comparison: for Wilson’s “Sloop John B,” May gives us “Rent Money”; for Wilson’s “I Just Wasn’t Made For These Times” we get May’s titular track “Do Things,” yet the album transcends the ’60s comparisons and can stand as a 2012 creation thanks to his ironic album art of a carefree young man lying on floatie in a lake just above the words “Do Things” — May makes it obvious that his music was crafted with millennial twenty-somethings in mind....full text
Musicomh"Remember Alf?" exclaims Millhouse in a particularly memorable Simpsons episode. "He's back. In Pog form!" It is, arguably, one of the finer verbal moments from Bart's bespectacled best buddy. In the same way, it's good to see Dent May back in action with his new record, Do Things. 2009's curiously appealing Good Feeling Music Of Dent May And His Ukulele Orchestra was gloriously ramshackle, with the jewel in the crown being the cautionary tale of hosting a bad soiree, You Can't Force A Dance Party. But that was then, and this is now, and packed with a fuller, more conventional sound, it's a case of "Dent's back! In POP form".
If his previous effort was something of a pop oddity, his latest effort continues the trend. The overall sound is some warped hybrid of Jim Noir-meets-Jonathan Richman-meets-Suburban Kids With Biblical Names, and it gives a gentle nod to the likes of Summer Camp in sounding simultaneously retro and current. All of those elements come together best on the sauntering breezy pop tones of Parents, which seemingly sees May desparately trying to hang onto the last threads of his youth, crooning "we don't want to be just like our parents".
Elsewhere, album opener Rent Money, resplendent in its quasi hip-hop beats as it is, does the unthinkable and out-Beach Boys the Beach Boys (well, on their last offering anyway). It demonstrates a knack for a rich patchwork of vocal harmonies, wheeled out again for the album's title track, a song which already sounds like a loose Brian Wilson ballad and finds May inspiring the listener to "do things your own way", like a languid take on Eddie & The Hot Rods' Do Anything You Wanna Do. The new, fuller sound comes into its own on lead single Fun, the shuffling breezy pop of Wedding Day, and the surprisingly percussive record-ending Home Groan. The amalgam of wafer-thin trebly guitars, keys, slinky basslines and vocal harmonies makes a decent stab at wrestling the title of 'sound of summer' from the myriad of other pretenders and upstarts due out over the summer period....full text
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