31 oct. 2012

Dent May: Do Things

review[-]by Tim Sendra After the release of his charmingly tuneful, ukulele-ridden debut The Good Feeling Music of Dent May & His Magnificent Ukulele in 2009, Dent May underwent a bit of a sea change. He began recording uke-free dance music under the name Dent Sweat, releasing a couple tracks to the Internet but not an album. When the time came to record the next Dent May record, he incorporated the synths, dancefloor-friendly beats, and uke-free approach of Dent Sweat into his sound, dropping them on top of gently strummed guitars and May's cutely yearning vocals. Do Things has all the hooky, good-natured charm of Good Feeling Music, but also a bulked-up sound that has more kick. Where Good Feeling might have inspired a listener to sit under a shady tree sipping a summer cocktail, Do Things has plenty of that laid-back feel but it also may get that same listener up out of his or her seat and dancing. Tracks like "Rent Money" and "Don't Wait Too Long" have a burbling, midtempo R&B groove, sounding like the wispiest new jack jams ever, "Best Friend" breaks into a glittery disco trot, and "Home Groan" rocks back and forth like Ace of Base-style reggae. The rest of the record splits the difference between dreamy "Beach Boys produced by Stephin Merritt" ballads ("Tell Her," "Do Things") and upbeat, ultra-poppy songs ("Wedding Day, "Fun") that are easily a match for the best moments on May's debut record. Throughout the album, the newly synthesized and programmed musical backing fits perfectly with his songs, adding some dimension and extra stickiness to the melodies but never overpowering the homespun and intimate appeal of May's songs. His decision to ditch the ukulele was a winner, too -- it worked fine once but another album built around it would have been one too many. As it is, Do Things is a cool treat of a record, filled with catchy and sweet songs that have a relaxed and easygoing happiness that is impossible to resist.

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