Not since the heyday of Spinal Tap has the idea of lead bass sounded so good. Dos is a punk “super-duo,” featuring Mike Watt (Minutemen, fIREHOSE) and Kira Roessler (Black Flag, Twisted Roots). The instrumentation is sparse, with each just playing bass along with Kira’s occasional vocals. Considering the primitive setup, the results on their new album, Dos Y Dos, are remarkable.
One reason for the success of the recording has got to be because the pair’s significant amount of time playing together, stretching all the way back to 1985. Their commitment to the music is strong, as the two have managed to maintain a musical partnership despite having gone through their own divorce. Their new Dos Y Dos recording is their fourth, and has taken a while to make. In fact, some of these songs date back over 15 years.
The music of Dos is primarily instrumental, and the amount of sound that can be created by just two basses is surprising. The album leads off with the intricate “Number Nine” which reveals something of a jazz influence. Things get seriously adventurous on “Uncle Mike,” where both players seem determined to test the limits of their improvisational capabilities.
Another outstanding track is “Only You Will Know,” which is an oddly contemplative piece. At times the lyrics on Dos Y Dos are concise to the point of being nearly haikus. At other times, the titles alone are perfect evocations of the songs they describe. Take “Frantic,” for example. It is the more accurate illustration of what this tune sounds like that they could have come up with.
The record closes with the suitably meditative “Om Om Om,” in which the two players manage an incredibly complex bass duet. The track sounds improvised, and shows a remarkable amount of musical familiarity. For fans of Mike Watt or Kira Roessler separately or together, Dos is certainly a side project worth seeking out. It is also a fine album in its own right.
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