The last time an album came out of Athens, GA that sounded so much like itself was in 2004, and that album was Count’s Animal, You Rock Star. However, whereas that album was a huge rock production, Good Luck, Curiosity is less so, and its multi-tracking occasionally reaches pastiche when the listener is anticipating integration.
But Dangfly!’s new album is full of pop hooks, good turns of musical phrase, and occasionally clever but never silly or smartass lyrics. Most of the punchy stuff is on the first half of the record. Opener “Pledge” is quite possibly the most honestly patriotic—as opposed to nationalistic—anthem I’ve heard in years. “#1” builds from a mid-tempo guitar shuffle into a violin-punctuated chorus, all the while supporting a set of lyrics that are much more sad than they seem at first blush.
While never sounding explicitly like anyone else, Dangfly!, both live and recorded, evokes the same sort of ’70s/’80s FM-radio pop feeling as Toto, ELO, Styx and, occasionally, America. None of that should be taken as an insult, no matter how much one (rightfully) loathes those artists. What we’re talking about here is an aural emotion delivery system, and Dangfly! certainly sets its own bar for back-dooring a message, insofar as there is one at all, and Good Luck, Curiosity hits more than it misses.
Ever hear a song you thought you knew from years ago but now you think you just “got” it? Good Luck, Curiosity sounds like that. It’s fine as it is for now, but feels like it’s going to sneak up with additional clarity one day. 3 out of 5.
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