The dB’s were first formed during the late 1970s by friends, singer/songwriter/guitarists Peter Holsapple and Chris Stamey, bassist Gene Holder, and drummer Will Rigby. Their early 1980s albums, Stands For Decibels, and Repercussions, received a great deal of critical, if not commercial success. The albums were instrumental in helping to modernize the power pop idiom of music. By the late 1980s, all the original members had gone their separate ways and the dB’s were no more.
The lights went back on for the band when the four original members began performing together in 2005. Their series of reunion concerts went so well that the band decided to record a new album of original material. There obviously was no hurry, as Holsapple and Stamey took some time off to record a duo album during 2009. The new album is now complete and has a street date of June 12 under the title Falling Off The Sky. It is the first dB’s studio album in 25 years and the first to feature all the founding members in 30 years.
The band has not changed its sound very much. The lyrics may not have the anger as did their early material, but the jangling guitars and sense of purpose are still in place. It all adds up to an updating and not a reinventing of their sound. If you are familiar with the band’s past work, the music will be instantly recognizable. If you have not explored their music, this will be a pleasant pop surprise.
From beginning to end the tracks flow into one another. The opening track, “That Time Is Gone,” immediately establishes that they can still produce hard-edged pop as the twin guitars of Stamey and Holsapple unite and soar. There is also the romantic “Before We Were Born,” the tuneful “World To Cry,” and the clanging music of the fatalistic “Send Me Something Real.”
The album’s surprising treat is the debut of drummer Will Rigby’s first composition to grace one of their albums. ”Write Back” is a radio friendly tune, which is also sung by Rigby, and is a hit single in waiting.
At heart, Falling Off The Sky, is an album where four old friends just get together and create the kind of music that makes them happy. The dB’s may not have issued an album that will change the course of modern music, but they have produced some music that is enjoyable and highly listenable and sometimes that is enough.