Dom, the founder and main songwriter for the band Dom (that must get confusing), is pretty set on his band’s goals despite their relative infancy.
“We want to be the Madonna of garage rock,” he says on their official website. It’s an ambitious path to take, but after listening to some of the songs on Sun Bronzed Greek Gods, you may be convinced that this group has what it takes to succeed. A few of the tracks on their debut EP display an innovative combination of synthesizers and lo-fi garage mentality. Sadly, these moments don’t happen often enough and are almost overwhelmed by the ’60s surf rock fad that Dom borrows too much from.
The best example of this band’s potential is found on “Living In America”. The tune kicks off with a high-pitched synth pattern that could be mistaken for an off-tune keyboard. Once the techno bass kicks in, the track launches into a fully realized rock rave number. It straddles both indie sensibilities and clubbing vibes, making it unknown whether the band is better suited for jumping around in an open field or breaking out the glow sticks in a strobe-fueled tent. Dom’s distorted vocals practically glide through your headphones with lines like “It’s so sexy/to be living in America,” creating one of the best recent party anthems this side of Andrew W.K. Expect this chorus to be a sing-along at every festival they hit this year.
These garage-rave sensations can be found twice more throughout the seven-track record. The opener, “Jesus”, floats over with spacey vocals that sound like they’re coming from the top of a church, while a bouncy bass supports the whole thing. The opening synths of “Burn Bridges” crystallize into a chiming disco moment that’s propelled forward by a snappy drum. The vocals split over the beat, letting the keyboards float overhead while you focus not so much on Dom’s words but his rhythm. Despite what sounds like a small amount of instrumentation at first, more and more sounds grow out of the initial arrangement, building as it moves on. The whole track has a New Wave feel, but one that Dom makes their own instead of drawing from the past.
The problem with this EP is that the rest of the songs draw too much from the past, trying to fit into the early rock feel. “Rude As Jude” is promising at first, coming up with a slushy tone that sounds like early ’60s rock if they had lo-fi style recordings. Once the verses come up, though, the guitar smooths out, and the track moves into a sunnier groove. However, this only serves to reveal how many times this type of riff has been heard before. Once the singing starts, the originality fades away, leaving a mimic rather than a movement to something new. “Bochicha” and “Hunny” do something similar, the guitar tailgating what Best Coast did last year.
Sun Bronzed Greek Gods could have served as a great introduction to an up-and-coming group. With some songs, mainly “Living In America”, it still does. The combination of garage rock with techno trends isn’t heavily explored territory, and they have the know-how to write catchy tracks that straddle the spectrum. There have been enough throwbacks to last a lifetime. Hopefully, in the future, Dom will be a band that offers something fresh.