January 15, 2014

Dank Sinatra: Strange

Independent Release


Strange, the fluid third full-length from local six-piece Dank Sinatra, will delight devotees of the noodly, funk-flavored rock and roll the band has put forth to this point. But it should also gain the group some new fans, folks who don't necessarily spend their free time parsing sites like Jambase and counting the days 'til moe.down. 

The title track kicks off the record nicely, boasting an insistent 4/4 rhythm, a meaty, bluesy lead riff and a fuzzed-out counterpart. With its chug-a-lug groove and surrealist lyrical visions, it calls to mind a looser, more playful Queens of the Stone Age. A muscular sax refrain courtesy of Luke "Gnarly G" Powell propels the tune into instant-classic territory.

"Down South Georgia Boy" follows that up with some Dead-quoting back-and-forth that's playful but never veers into self-parody. This is the what sets Dank Sinatra apart from so many of its peers: Though the group's influences are obvious, it never allows them to take over completely. Furthermore, these fellas can sure play their instruments, but there are also solid songs beneath the virtuosic sheen. 

By the time Strange reaches its midpoint, some steam has been lost. "Uncle Scotty" is a technically impressive but ultimately needless instrumental exercise; "Sleeper" is just flat-out silly. Thankfully, the last two tracks, "Girl in White" and "Philmont Funk" find the band back on track. The former is a funked-up blues ditty; the latter is a bluesed-out funk tune that makes potent use of psychedelic sound wizardry. Jammy but not hammy, it ends the record with flair. 3 out of 5.

Dank Sinatra plays Green Room on Thursday, Jan. 16.