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Dynah are another band from Austin, Texas. And like What Made Milwaukee Famous, they sound nothing like the garage rock which I mentally associate with that region. But that is not a bad thing.

But before I talk about their music, let me have a brief, geeky digression about their album, 0100010001011001010011100100000101001000. It gets the dubious distinction of being the longest album title we've reviewed at Evil Sponge by a band that's not from Canada, and will henceforth be referred to as "the album." Still, being a computer geek, I really want to know what the reference stands for. It has one too many octets to be an IP address, and one too few to be a MAC address. Either way, you have to suspect that the binary code means something to the band, especially when you begin to consider their music.

The album begins with Sick Inside, which is vaguely reminiscent of Chicago band Midstates. From the first, Dynah's most distinctive characteristic is singer Rion Basyus's voice, which is quite melodic but has a slightly geeky edge to it. From there, the band moves on to Ones and Zeroes. This one has a bassline straight out of the 80s and vocal line that recalls Stop Whispering from Radiohead. More importantly, the melody is driven by that bassline while the guitar acts in a more rhythmic capacity.

The third song, Misfit seems a bit more peppier and punkier with a Wire/Gang of Four influence. Listening to this one, I understand why people compare them to The Cure; however I'd personally compare it to Power, Corruption, and Lies-era New Order. Still, it's a nice, icy tune, although the vocals are way too up front. Personally, I want to hear more bass and guitars and less vocals, which is perhaps my main complaint about the first three songs on this album.

But, then there's A.M., the slower, semi-acoustic ballad which just doesn't work for me all. Nevertheless, it has some nice space-y effect going on in the background to liven up the acoustic format. Dynah regain their balance with Cracked Bones. This song contrasts a higher electric guitar line with some deliberate acoustic strumming. Over it all, Basyus sings slowly and deliberately as bassist Phil Brasenell holds the melody yet again. However, at the 3 minute mark, the band kicks it in with a soaring guitar part that mimics that newly soaring backing vocal line, which is itself broken by an unexpected bridge/last verse. With all of its musical contradictions, Cracked Bones is a highlight of the album.

The next song, Philosophy and A Kiss continues in the same vein as the earlier songs. There are soaring vocals with backing guitar arpeggios. And again, everything seems to click a bit more when the whole band kicks in. In particular, I really like the mix on the ostensible chorus as the vocals get caught behind a newly present keyboard. In fact, throughout the song, the vocals seem lower than in the earlier material, which works well.

Plastiscene begins with a deliberate drumbeat reminiscent of Portastatic's In the Manner of Anne Frank, but without the distinctive bassline. However, with the combination of dominating keyboards and a catchy melody, this one sounds like something off The Cost of Living by Sharks and Minnows. More importantly, with the keyboard to act as a contrast, Basyus's vocals feel more natural than on some of the previous material.

Photograph ostensibly ends the album. With a rich cacophony of sounds and that newly found, more level mix, it sounds really nice, despite the deliberate break in Basyus's voice during the verse structure. I assume that since he does it every time it's deliberate. Although it feels a little affected to me, it's more or less hidden by a layer of distortion over it. But just when you think it's all over, there's one more song. The untitled track nine is an almost 6 minute song that harkens back to that cold Chicago sound I mentioned previously. It's vocal layers on top of layers of guitars effects. And it's a really nice ending to the album.

Despite all of the reference points listed above, the album has a unity in sound that makes it easy to listen to. However, this same coherence also occasionally works against the listener, as it's a bit hard to separate out what works for Dynah as opposed to what doesn't. Nevertheless, for a young band, 0100010001011001010011100100000101001000 is a solid offering that I suspect would appeal to people who like a variety of post-punk styles.

Related Links:

The Dynah website.


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