Nothing like a blanket statement to get locals excited about a band, so here goes: Comrade is the new Pleasant Grove of Dallas rock music. You can't get a better compliment than that, really. There's Many a Slip Twixt the Cup and the Lip, the Dallas quintet's debut, has the same intangible, genreless beauty that made foam form at critics' mouths almost a decade ago over PG. It's not an exact comparison, certainly, though the textured restraint of Bedhead is common between both acts; Comrade proves this best on "No Need," whose six-minute run is a pleasant soup of extended guitar notes, whispered vocals, brushed drums and beautifully layered acoustic strums. But where PG zigs toward country and harder rock, Comrade zags toward piano-loving balladry, which is no more evident than on "Make/Break," whose slow build into a soaring guitar-and-piano explosion, capped by Jonathan Clark's huge, British chart-topping vocals (really, is this the same guy who whispered through the other songs?) will wreck a 13-year-old girl as much as a 30-year-old record store clerk. The production's a bit lacking, particularly on the booming bits of "Make/Break," but the sophistication in these arrangements--horns, pedal steel, vibraphone, wonderful touches of ambient noise--make up for it and prove that Comrade is a true local wonder. Hopefully, someone will properly release the album soon, because Dallas needs to hear it.
KEEP THE DALLAS OBSERVER FREE... Since we started the Dallas Observer, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Dallas, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
sam Machkovech