Album Review: Dana T – {Your Name}

Dana T
“Smith and Gillette play a more pivotal role on “Troubleshoot,” with horn runs from noir movies slathered in reverb like cheap perfume.”
{Your Name}

The latest from Dana Trelsrow (a.k.a. Dana T) is a six-song collection of mostly effective digital-baroque-funk (consider that genre term coined). The University of Iowa student has has enhanced his already dense compositions on {Your Name} with a horde of horn players whose work vacillates between classically inspired baroque-pop trills and funky blasts and stabs.

{Your Name} is front-loaded with two of the EPs strongest pieces bolstered by some of the most assured horn work. “Nocturnal” bubbles in on a wave of 8-bit funk that could accompany a discotheque level in Super Mario World. The slinky, retro keyboard keeps the whole song feeling a little sexy while the saxophone and trumpet work from Ryan Smith and Peter Gillette maintain a playful lightness before the overdriven, hard-rock-aping chorus. On the chorus Trelsrow relates a tortured relationship with technology that keeps him tied to a computer all night, so he’s “never meant to see the sunrise.”

The more contemplative, down-cast number, “Troubleshoot” follows. The EP’s second cut puts a personal touch on a word we now tie to stressful phone calls to the IT department. Smith and Gillette play a more pivotal role on “Troubleshoot,” with horn runs from noir movies slathered in reverb like cheap perfume, their work reinforces this re-appropriation of technical jargon for Trelsrow’s life.

The weak tracks on {Your Name} are songs that cry out for the stage. The most glaring example is the band roll call that is “He’s Got the Whole World.” Over a glitchy update on the echo and reverb laden funk in the 80’s, Telsrow runs through the band and how they like to play their instruments with the instruments “in [their] hands.” It’s a fun enough piece once or twice–and may be bit more enjoyable at the front or back of the EP, but it’s probably a blast live. Here it just feels flat, repetitive, and jammed in to fill out the tracklisting.

John Schlotfelt is happy baseball is back, he’s just hoping spring follows suit.

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