De Novo Dahl, Move Every Muscle Make Every Sound (Roadrunner Records, 2008)

De Novo Dahl are a Nashville-based indie rock band featuring Joel J Dahl (vocals, guitar, lyrics), Keith Lowen (bass, vocals), Serai Zaffiro (vocals, omnichord), Joey Andrews (drums), and Matt Hungate (keyboards, vocals). While they specialize in sunny power pop, Dahllyrics have more depth than you might notice at first glance. Their third album Move Every Muscle, Make Every Sound came out in March.

The opening song "Shout" is the obvious single. While there is some similarity in lyrical theme to the Tears for Fears song of the same title, this song is both more aggressive and catchier. The most intriguing song on the album, though, is the six-minute "Means to an End." Set to an edgy musical backdrop reminiscent of John Lennon, Dahl and Zaffiro trade verses while taking the roles of some sort of special agents in a surreal science fiction story. Otherwise De Novo Dahl do a fine job of mixing things up, from the bouncy pop of "Make Some Sense," to the more punkish "Be Your Man," to the disco of "Shakedown." There's even some sharp social commentary in the song "Marketplace": "We've built an empire of broken down homes. We laugh with our neighbors and say we've never felt so empty and alone." Listen closely for the church organ near the end of the song.

With Move Every Muscle, Make Every Sound, De Novo Dahl have made a fine power pop recording that succeeds in being fun and catchy without being one-dimensional. I get the feeling that this a band that we'll hear more good things from in the future.

Overall grade: B+

reviewed by Scott

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