First Appeared in The Music Box, February 1999, Volume 6, #2
Written by John Metzger
Shortly after dada released El Subliminoso on I.R.S. Records, the company filed for bankruptcy, leaving the group with virtually no support for the outing. As luck would have it, Universal/MCA Records, the band's new label, is now involved in a mega-merger with Polygram that promises to leave many artists without a home for their music.
This self-titled release is dada's first disc recorded for its new label, and hopefully it won't be its last. The band is definitely a little more conservative in its approach, and it doesn't push quite as hard at finding new and different sounds to explore. Instead, the ensemble tightens the reigns a bit, while revisiting the explorations of its past successes. The result is a tighter sound and a disc that is chock-full of infectious pop songs.
dada has always drawn liberally from the music of The Beatles and The Beach Boys, and its wears its influences even more explicitly on its eponymous outing than it has in the past. Information Undertow makes use of a few George Harrison-like guitar riffs, Beautiful Turnback Time Machine borrows the tempo change of Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds, and This Thing Together opens with beautiful a cappella harmonies. The group even borrows from Paul Simon for the delicate acoustic ballad Outside, which might have fit better as the final track of the disc.
Nevertheless, dada has always done more than just copy from the past. The group brings to its live performances a frantic energy that is more common to punk or grunge than to pop music, and this is inherently the foundation for its sound. The band consistently has filled its albums with radio-friendly songs, and dada continues to emphasize irresistible grooves. If only radio stations could see past its first hit (Dizz Knee Land), they'd find that there's much more to this talented ensemble. At the very least, commercial radio should give the single Information Undertow the same opportunity that it gave to Fastball's Fire Escape. ½
dada is available from Barnes & Noble.
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1 Star: Pitiful
2 Stars: Listenable
3 Stars: Respectable
4 Stars: Excellent
5 Stars: Can't Live Without It!!
Copyright © 1999 The Music Box