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Dot Dash - Proto Retro (The Beautiful Music)

7 February 2020

The Washington DC musical stalwarts Dot Dash give a lesson in cultivating sounds and pushing forward on their latest album Proto Retro. This release their sixth, is a well-balanced outing blending textures, depth and maturity with an overflowing effervescence of talent. 

Proto Retro is an album that went under the radar but is a worthy work of investigation. The blistering positivity ignites with “Unfair Weather”,  a track that sets a high bar opening an album which blends two genres. Continuing with the chiming guitar of “Gray Blue Green”, more of a dramatic delivery, something reminiscent of early Prefab Sprout. “Dead Letter Rays” with its doo-wop dynamics, flows effortlessly into the two-minute classic blast of “Parachute Powerline”. Which projects perfectly the swift delivery of short, sharp enjoyable rockers. Such as the post-punk “TV/Radio”, a wholesome authentic take on an old-fashioned style brought straight up-to-date. The guitar solos are cutting, similarly to the lyrics and are placed brilliantly for maximum impact. 

The melancholic “Tamed a Wild Beast” begins to pull the tempo back slightly before taking flight, uplifting with a wall of sound. “Triple Rainbow” follows the same strong path, before the explosive noise rock of “Fast Parade” ups the ante. I do believe Dot Dash are at their best when they cut loose in the punk framework, shown respectively with “Green on Red”. It is here the band open up in full throttle and somersaulting with tasty guitar, drum attacks. 

The unexpected oddities still arrive in the mix. “Run & Duck for Cover”. A more mid-tempo take than what comes before that pulls back to a gentle swing. It shouldn’t really work as well as it does given the assaulting rock that comes before and after, but it fits like a breathing space on the album. All in all this is a well spent thirty-two minute listen which skips across genres from post-punk, to new wave and at times into a grungy setting. 

1.Unfair Weather 
2.Gray Blue Green   
3.Dead Letter Rays    
4.Parachute Powerline    
6.Tamed a Wild Beast    
7.Triple Rainbow    
8.Fast Parade    
9.World’s Last Payphone 
10.Green on Red 
11.Run & Duck for Cover   
12.Sun + Moon = Disguise

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