With how rare it is these days that a band or label actually takes the time and effort to send a finished CD for review, it’s almost worth an extra mark in itself. How equally disappointing to find that the name has been printed upside-down on the spine of the box, so negating any extra favour they would have received. Enough about my own obsessive labelling conventions though and on to the album in question from French post rockers Dot Legacy with their self-titled debut effort. They have been busy laying the groundwork in France, touring with impressive names like Mars Red Sky and Truckfighters, and now they are stepping out on their own with their very distinctive sound.
Combining elements of fuzzed out stoner with trippy prog elements and beard stroking post rock, Dot Legacy are happy to plough their own furrow and not waste time worrying about conforming to any particular sound or style. Showcasing excellent musicianship with strong songwriting skills, they constantly keep you on the back foot with time changes and jazzy breaks. It’s certainly not something you can just jump into and appreciate straight away, certainly not if you are approaching it with the expectation of a standard stoner rock act. Opening track ‘Kennedy’ varies between At The Drive In bursts of energy, slow groove and early Pink Floyd psychadelica. ‘Think Of A Name’ has all the above with the added influence of Frank Zappa which makes for an interesting headfuck.
There’s a fine line between meticulous planning and utter chaos, and Dot Legacy walk that line confidently with songs that can sound initially shambolic, but when you give them your full attention you fully appreciate how expertly crafted they are. Part of that shambolic nature stems from the fact that in addition to the lead vocals the rest of the band provide a unified backing vocal with comes across initially as disorganised and confrontational, but when you start to account for that and listen to the composition it all comes together. Even the rapped elements of ‘Pyramid’ seem to work without me wanting to skewer my head, which is my usual default rap setting.
So Dot Legacy have come up with a very impressive album in many respects. They are clearly a great bunch of musicians with excellent songwriting skills and a huge amount of artistic vision. There’s just one problem so far as I can see it and that is that I personally didn’t find it at all catchy. I enjoyed it very much on a technical level and found myself nodding and beard stroking whilst making notes, but I found it to be short on hooks. That being said I think that could very well be just me on this occasion as I was expecting something with altogether a bit more groove and for someone with a wide ranging musical taste, this band reside in the dusty corner that I rarely visit. The fact that I am still so impressed with it has to be a very positive thing and I suspect I’ll be hearing quite a lot more about them in the future.
(8/10 Lee Kimber)