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Oliver Valenzuela (standing) and Brett Kocherhans (sitting) of DulceSky – Photo Credit: Justin Langford
Modern rock quartet DulceSky present their first new recordings for four years in the form of a 4-track EP, A Prelude, released through Nueve Music on 29th June on CD, download (iTunes, Amazon, CDBaby), and streaming (Spotify, Pandora, Apple Music).
A Prelude was recorded late 2017/early 2018 at Secret Warehouse by bassist Chris Scharman and guitarist Brett Kocherhans and mixed at June Audio by Scott Wiley (whose credits include The Moth & The Flame and Fictionist). Lead songwriter and guitarist/vocalist Oliver Valenzuela presents a consistently rich, sonically dense set of songs that pull on influences from across the canon of alternative rock from the last 30 years, drawing on the band’s clear affection for UK moodists such as The Cure and Catherine Wheel, while also displaying a knack for harnessing the crossover potential of US mainstream rock.
Lead track “Beyond the Dark”, featuring the ghostly backing vocals of Hannah Scharman (www.sofigev.com), fixes its starting point as the darkwave of The Mission’s “Beyond the Pale” and moves on through big, deep, expansive, epic landmarks – building all the while across its six majestic minutes.
Before it was properly christened, “Lose Control” was known to the band as ‘the Nickelback song’ while it was being built up into the riff-laden, straight-up rock track it then became. Brett brought the main riff and “I don’t want to lose control again” lyric into the rehearsal room one day and the band quickly built the song up from that solid foundation. Wanting to take themselves out of their familiar (and therefore comfortable) musical territory, the band blinkeredly aimed themselves at the semi-prog/‘90s feel of bands like Porcupine Tree and ended up with a mainstream rock classic that even the band didn’t know they had in them!
The standout pop song on the EP (if by “standout pop” you mean anything that draws heavily on The Cure’s classic 1989 album Disintegration and is twice the length of the conventional pop hit!) is “Detached”. With hints of Killing Joke’s epic “Love Like Blood” sitting over that “Fascination Street”-like groove, Valenzuela confesses to geeking-out with the same recording techniques that Robert Smith and co-producer David M Allen used at the time. Furious, powerful, locked-down drumming provides the framework for Chris’ fluid, languid bass line to create an irresistible groove for the guitars and vocals to glide along on top.
Lyrically this song and “Lose Control” observe a close friend going through marital problems and divorce, with “Lose Control” pondering what would happen if the father had to leave for good. “Detached” details his bouncing back and forth with personal attachments and aching for release from the emotional purgatory he finds himself in.
Lifting the mood at the close of the EP is the most positive track of the four, “Nothing is Impossible”. It’s a contemporary indie rock song that implores the listener to stay focused on their own dreams and ambitions, ignoring any dissenting or deviating voices – internal and external. The underlying hint of chaos in the guitar feedback that runs throughout the tracks accentuates the clamor of all those voices – positive and negative.
Sixteen years on from those first living-room four-track demos, DulceSky have condensed everything that they absorbed and acquired along the way into the A Prelude EP, an explosive 20-minute aural delight that will have you making full use of that ‘repeat’ button to the exclusion of all other music that comes your way this year.
Text credit: Dave Newton
“Beyond the Dark”
“Nothing Is Impossible”
August 12th Gallivan Center, Salt Lake City, UT (Craft Lake City Festival)
Watch the official audio video for “Beyond The Dark”:
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