First up the most important question. What is that in his mouth? It looks like it could be some kind of bird or something. Not a good idea. This is Dare's second album and like many records comes out of what sounds like a horrible relationship breakdown. Dare sings about identity and the sort of fakery that goes on when someone plays around behind your back. Dark stuff but therapeutic for him I hope. Couple this with some neat electronics and bleak guitars and we could have an interesting record here.
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You know those piano chords that sound like it’s raining outside and someone else in the house has a cup of coffee but you’re not allowed one because you might spill it on the piano? Douglas Dare. Lots of those on ‘Aforger’, a record torn between the wonderful gentility of indie rock and the benefits of a noisier, electronically enhanced version. Oh “Doublethink”, you really are everything your title track says is the case, a medley of nice chords and glitching conflicts.
Dare’s making music both pretty and tinkering, with kitchen-scrapings on “Greenhouse” making up the percussion atop a lovely synth progression -- his voice is quite perfect for this collation, a gentle but slightly crackling coo that flits between the layers, rather than settling on the surface. The homegrown and earth-scorched “Greenhouse” has ingredients of Olafur Arnalds, Philip Selway and the wonderfully skewed pop of ROOMMATE, coming out the other end like an Erased Tapes emo masterpiece… oh, this is on Erased Tapes? I’m getting good at this, huh. Clint, please pay me super more money.
It’s not something I’d usually go in for, but this sentimentality is adventurous: it rides by on beats and bleeps that carve out their own kind of symphonic -- like the anxieties of Sufjan or the looping strands of understanding in Bon Iver, this is Dare’s own sound of scepticism, whether in the computer gospel Krautrock of “Binary” or the low-key muttered song to self of “Venus”, which sounds like it’s broken a line of code in a house tune and opened a Bill Evans ballad at the same time. A hugely inventive record with what many sports coaches would describe as A Lot Of Heart.
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- Aforger by Douglas Dare
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