Best Behavior is the second full-length from Brooklyn’s Dinowalrus. It’s an ecstasy-fueled roller coaster ride through the sounds of the ’80s Manchester club scene, updated with Animal Collective’s Merriweather Post Pavilion studio wizardry and voiced by Pete Feigenbaum sounding like the younger brother of The Psychedelic Furs’ Richard Butler. Despite the interesting combination of influences, the scattershot results show a band that knows how to create a song but not quite yet an album.
Dinowalrus wants to provide the soundtrack to your next party. This intention is made clear from album opener “The Gift Shop”, a reverb-drenched song that contains the nervous energy found at the start of a drug trip. The lyrics that can be deciphered contain some rather humorous lines that take shots at Banksy’s pseudo-documentary, with Feigenbaum repetitively singing, “Save all your receipts and exit through the gift shop/ I just can’t sit through Exit Through the Gift Shop.”
The pace set by “The Gift Shop” does not let up, rendering Best Behavior the audio equivalent of a party host trying way too hard to ensure that his or her guests are entertained. Having fun shouldn’t be this exhausting, but when Dinowalrus hit their stride, they do bring the goods. Album highlight “Rico” features the stabbing disco basslines that made early Rapture singles so effective, but it’s crafted with arena rock ambition and studio gloss. In short, it will keep you on the dance floor. The rest of the album is more of the same but with fewer highs. “What Now”, an icy, guitar-driven track, notably features a guest spot by Patrick Stickles of Titus Andronicus (Feigenbaum’s former band).
The Psychedelic Furs comparison is apt because they churned out record after record of classic singles while failing to deliver an album masterwork. Best Behavior has its share of highlights, as did their previous outing, %, but fails to deliver as a long-player. In the end, what we are left with are a handful of excellent singles, and sometimes that can be just enough to get the party started.
Essential Tracks: “Rico”, “The Gift Shop”, and “Beth Steel”