Dawes’ third album Stories Don’t End is set to come out April 9, and the Los Angeles-based band seems to be getting closer and closer to perfectly capturing the mystic spirit of their native city.
The breezy melodies from Taylor Goldsmith (lead vocals, guitar), Wylie Gelber (bass), Tay Strathairn (keyboard), Griffin Goldsmith (drums, vocals) are given gravitas with the earnest and heartfelt storytelling of classic singer/songwriters.
The album opens with the driving beat of “Just Beneath the Surface,” which carries the poignant refrain:
“Just beneath the surface there’s another one of me,
at the root of all my trouble, in the twitch before I speak.
With thoughts and revelations even I could not accept.
So just beneath the surface is where he will stay kept.”
This is a record that has more layers beneath its surface, for sure. The journeys of finding ourselves and love are topics well-explored by the quartet, notably in the sweetly-sleepy “Just My Luck” and the upbeat “Hey Lover.” Another standout is “From the Right Angle,” which lands near the end of Stories before another version of “Surface” that features Taylor Goldsmith reaching into the upper registers of his vocal range as thoughts of cruising up the Pacific Coast Highway with the windows down come to mind during a beachy fade-out.
The 12 tracks of Stories Don’t End, which takes its title from Joan Didion’s 1984 novel Democracy, show that Dawes is maturing into a band not afraid to investigate the tough questions of life while using rich arrangements.
Recorded in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Asheville, N.C., with producer Jacquire King (Norah Jones, Tom Waits), Stories Don’t End is one of this year’s must-listens.