Dramatic Lovers Look To (And Ignore) The Past on Their Debut 7-Inch

May. 25, 2017
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dramatic lovers
Photo credit: Joe Kirschling
It’s a wonder that Decibully’s albums have aged as well as they have, because they’re all very much a product of their time. The band peaked at the height of indie-rock’s hand-stitched era, a fashion-conscious stretch of the mid-’00s where seemingly every indie album drew from the same well of crafty chamber pop, makeshift choirs, handclaps, and displaced pedal steel guitars (even the most urbane indie-rock albums used to have at least a couple country numbers back then). If the band was trend-hopping, though, they were doing so without a trace of cynicism. Where many records from that era now sound hopelessly dated, if not ridiculous, in hindsight, Decibully’s discography is no worse for the wear, not just because its period trappings ground the records in a time and place, but because they were genuinely thoughtful and well executed. When those thrift-store aesthetics come back in vogue one day (and they will), Decibully deserves to be the first band in line for a reappraisal.

In the meantime the spirit of the band lives on through a new band, Dramatic Lovers, a Milwaukee supergroup that pairs the core of Decibully’s lineup with the rhythm section of Maritime. On their debut 7-inch, streaming now ahead of its June 23 physical release on the micro label Foreign Leisure, the band lives up to the basic expectations of that pedigree—big guitars and high emotions—but the packaging is new. Instead of scrappy indie-rock, the group channels the grander side of ’80s post-punk, cooling down their heated songs with the chilly rhythms and frost-nipped guitars of records like The Queen is Dead and Heaven Up Here, or so many Nick Cave albums.

William Seidel’s heart-rending yelp remains as potent as ever and these two new tracks put it front and center, replacing the ornate accompaniments of Decibully’s LPs with a satisfyingly visceral rock crunch. Even Decibully’s most direct songs never sounded quite this massive, or this out of time. For years these musicians embodied an era. Now they’re looking beyond it.

You can stream the new tracks below.

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