Dishwalla

Dishwalla

And You Think You Know What Life’s About

A & M

Dishwalla are like Stabbing Westward on Prozac: All the energetic heaviness without the maudlin self-indulgence. Hypothetically speaking, their style of pop is similar to what the Carpenters might have sounded like if they’d begun their career in the ’90s instead of the ’60s. Call it “modern soft metal”! Lead singer, JR Richard’s voice sounds like Bono’s with all the rough edges polished to a smooth sheen. And I just can’t get enough. Where Pet Your Friends was loaded with soft-focus spirituality and PC platitudes, And You Think You Know What Life’s About turns that focus inward. Richard’s penned these 12 songs over a three-year period the band spent on tour. Not surprisingly, the opening cut, “Stay Awake” (dabbling in a bit of drum and bass), addresses the problem of insomnia. “Bottom of the Floor” (whose lyrics give the album its title) is a straightforward, wake-up-and-smell-the-coffee scenario. “Until I Wake Up,” arguably the album’s strongest cut, explores the pure escapism of losing oneself in sleep with an underlaying, bittersweet ache.

The big rushes of guitar and sweeping keyboard effects on “Once in Awhile” produce a sonic wash of aural pleasure and the chorus, “When you close your eyes/do you like what you see/inside your mind” perfectly illustrates Richard’s particular self-reflective obsession. “Truth Serum”‘s languid groove starts out like a soulful take on Hooverphonic’s “2Wicky” and “So Blind” revisits the new wave greatness of forgotten bands like Talk Talk. I feel the same way about Dishwalla that I do about a vanilla ice cream cone: It’s a sweet indulgence, but it makes me feel good and, well, it’s delicious. A & M Records, 825 8th Ave., 27th Floor, New York, NY 10019

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *

Recently on Ink 19...

  • The Lyons
    The Lyons

    A man on his deathbed is surrounded by bickering family members, many of which you would strangle him given the chance. In other words: a brilliant comedy!

  • The Reading Room
    The Reading Room

    Today’s episode features author Anna-Marie O’Brien talking about her book Adventures of a Metalhead Librarian: A Rock N’ Roll Memoir with Ink 19’s Rose Petralia.

  • Bush Tetras
    Bush Tetras

    Rhythm and Paranoia (Wharf Cat). Review by Scott Adams.

  • Tom Tom Club
    Tom Tom Club

    The Good The Bad and the Funky (Nacional). Review by Julius C. Lacking.

  • Barnes & Barnes
    Barnes & Barnes

    Pancake Dream (Demented Punk Records). Review by Carl F. Gauze.

  • Jeremiah Lockwood
    Jeremiah Lockwood

    A Great Miracle: Jeremiah Lockwood’s Guitar Soli Chanukah Album (Reboot). Review by Bob Pomeroy.

  • Metallica: The $24.95 Book
    Metallica: The $24.95 Book

    From an underground band that pioneered the thrash metal sound, to arguably the biggest rock act in the new millennium, Metallica has had a long and tumultuous history. Ben Apatoff scours a myriad of sources to catalog this history in his new book.

  • Araceli Lemos
    Araceli Lemos

    Shortly after AFI Fest 2021 wrapped, Generoso spoke at length with director, Araceli Lemos about her award-winning and potent feature debut, Holy Emy. Lemos’s film uses elements of body horror in her story about the exoticization of two Filipina sisters living in Greece and how that exploitation creates a distance between them.

  • Southern Accents 55
    Southern Accents 55

    A woofin’ good time with cuts from Hank Williams, Muddy Waters, Delta Moon and more from KMRD 96.9, Madrid, New Mexico!

  • Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead
    Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead

    Absurdism with a healthy dose of air conditioning.

From the Archives