By Dios (Malos)
Ahh, the troublesome sophomore album, so many bands try, but so few succeed in moving their music on and keeping it interesting. Dios (as they were before the lawsuit) had some success with their first, also self-titled album: they were named in NME as ones to watch in 2004 and opened for Morrissey in LA. Two years down the line and the band have evolved from their Brian Wilson following pop sound but the new album leaves you cold and ambivalent, failing to ever fully capture your attention.
It's quite remarkable just how many different artists they could be compared to; each song reminds the listener of something different. There's a nod to Beck here, one to the Beach Boys there, a touch of Nirvana's acoustic songs, some of Elliott Smith's later work, a bit of Built to Spill, The Beatles and some Grandaddy all come to mind from just the first half of the album. This isn't wholly a bad thing as there's a Dios (Malos) flavour added to the music, however, lyrically they fall short due to repetition of the same theme over and over - drugs and alcohol.
Their sound is fuzzy, unchallenging pop with more mood swings than a bi-polar teenager in the throes of puberty, which makes it a little frustrating. The main problem with this record is that it's predictable and whilst there is variety between the songs, they're mostly based around repetition of simple phrases and a handful chords. The songs go exactly the way you expect them to and there's little that stimulates or excites the listener. They never really break away from anything you've already heard they just spin it and the result is a bit bland and hackneyed. To this end, it's far too easy to just let it fade into the background and it requires concentration to keep your mind from wandering. The interesting little touches which have (wrongly) gained them the experimental-pop tag don't compensate for the predictable mediocre and stilted song-writing.
Overall, it's not awful but it's hardly going to change your life in any way, it is easy going and unless you find gratuitous drug references offensive, it's harmless background music. It's unlikely to distract you from doing anything to just sit up and listen, there are no catchy songs that stand out from the rest and as such it's unmemorable.