REVIEW: d’Lakes “Heaven Is a Silent Disco”


d’Lakes – Heaven Is a Silent Disco

Getting off the launching pad with their sophomore effort that is a bit of the melodic fervor of 70s Squeeze with Difford & Tilbrook d’Lakes has a solid commercial-mainstream attack. Track 1 is “Dare To Be Bogus,” which segues neatly into “Laughing At A Symbol (Note Passing).” With this a tad of Deaf School energy (“Pleasantness”) also surfaces but d’Lakes has their own creative hocus pocus at work on these new wave weird pieces. With all that retro comparison, the band doesn’t come off as a dated wannabe.


Instead, they have some delicious arrangements, a pop confectionary that is not always cavity-inducing. Their vocals are just shy of Sparks’ (the Mael Brothers) ingenuity. But maybe with time, they’ll approach that masterpiece of extravaganza. They do touch upon Spark-influenced vocals throughout “New Sun.”

I’m not sure if younger people will latch onto this because as contemporary as it is & appropriate, it does resonate with a 70s flair. Hailing from Minnesota, the music is adventurous & well-thought-out. Far & away from just cheap commercial music.

From one track to another a seasoned ear will hear influences even if d’Lakes isn’t aware of those roots. “Not So-So-So Anymore,” is very heavy. That rock n’ roll saccharine approach was made famous by them along with Split Enz, the Alarm & Boomtown Rats. But that stuff was likable & so is this.

There are 12 delicacies on the Drew d’Lakes (vocals/guitars) produced Heaven Is a Silent Disco (Drops Nov 10-Konstiga Records/43-minutes). The set is nothing short of entertaining. There is enough new discovery in the musical mélange to render this quite original with diversified melodies. “Chardonnay Chalet,” is a disco-inflected dance piece with Prince grooves & so many other 70s soul-dance-funk combustible fluidity. Even if you hate Disco this tune will at least have you clapping your hands. Cool running.

From the disco to “Stasis on Track,” the band cruises the back alleys of Marc Bolan & T-Rex. If they did this all on purpose, it’s ingenious. If not, it’s the best throw of the musical dice I’ve seen in a long time. The final tune “Electric Spring,” is very New Musik in tradition (“Living By Numbers” “On Islands” & “Straight Lines”). It was a sparkling new wave in 1980, especially the vocal arrangement & tonality. But the whole production on the d’Lakes tune is stellar so I’m just enjoying this — as is.

Highlights – “Laughing At A Symbol,” “Not So-So-So Anymore,” “New Sun” “Chardonnay Chalet,” “Stasis on Track,” “Pendulum of Appreciation,” “Pleasantness” & “Electric Spring.”

Musicians – Ben Ehrlich (drums), Patrick Adkins & Avery d’Lakes (synths), Graydon Peterson (bass), Elizabeth Roddy (bgv) & Alma d’Lakes (guitar/bgv), Mitch d’Lakes (trumpet) & Andrew Kellum.

Color image courtesy of their Facebook. CD @ Bandcamp + https://drewdlakes.com/

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