DOM – “Damn”
You know the legendary history behind Worcester, Massachusetts natives DOM – a frontman too fearful of IRS retaliation to disclose his last name, signings to a label that also hosts Kylie Minogue, releases titled Sun Bronzed Greek Gods, songs with the lyrics “it’s so sexy to be living in America!” You also know the dreamy, surfy, lovably mindless pop gems that got the band noticed in the first place – the titular Dom and company’s best nuggets are those whose visual counterpart might be shot in a glittery room with a Vaseline-smeared lens: dazed, stoned, sunny, nostalgic synth driven anthems.
The band’s first release since their signing with Astralwerks isn’t much of a stray from form; Family of Love is more polished than scuzzy early recordings, but the band definitely knows their niche and have grown to cater to it effortlessly. Seeking to combine “teenie bop with space rock” while drawing from the glittery influences of Mariah Carey and David Bowie alike, Dom and Co. continue to haze out dreamy summer jams like it’s their job.
The EP’s five tracks range from bubblegum pop so eighties-cheesy it wouldn’t be anathema to their labelmate Kylie, featuring an actual telephone-dialing solo (that would be “Telephone,” which might not rival Gaga but certainly tries) to guitar-driven, grungy surf rock (“Damn,” a great Strokes-y single we love) to songs about birthday parties (“Happy Birthday Party,” which almost makes up for what it lacks lyrically with a really fun synth riff).
The band’s at their best when they scrap the synths or relegate them to the background; “Damn” is probably the best song on Family of Love because clean, bubbly guitars lead their energetic charge and that alleged “space rock” influence comes up clear. And on piano-laden “Some Boys,” the band let a female friend take lead vocals on a sunset-over-the-boardwalk romp that sounds like Best Coast fronting Belle and Sebastian.
In the EP’s better moments, Dom comes close to some unique and uncharted territory at that compelling juncture between chillwave and beachy lo-fi, but those moments are fairly fleeting and generally end up winding back to the sunny, cheesy vacancy of the band’s breakthrough “Living in America.”